Another two train coaches were torched at the Koeberg Station at 10:05 on the Muldersvlei line to Cape Town, amidst a visit from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa’s) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Sibusiso Sithole.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of the United National Transport Union (UNTU), says whoever is behind the continued torching of train coaches in Cape Town wants to convey a message to Prasa and the South African Police Service (SAPS) that they will continue to take the law into their own hands.
“This is the eighth incident in recent months. By now, surely the South African Police Service (SAPS) must have made a breakthrough in establishing who is behind these arson sprees that deliberately economically ruin train services in the Western Cape,” says Harris.
Dr. Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), agrees that the SAPS should have by now redeployed ample police officials from other policing units to strengthen its weak Rapid Rail-division and to ensure that this crucial infrastructure of the state is protected.
“It is clear that the rail infrastructure is deliberately being targeted for an unknown reason. By now the public in general can reasonably expect the SAPS to have focussed all their investigations and crime intelligence to establish who is behind this. We don’t see this happening and nothing is communicated,” says Burger.
Top Forensic Psychologist, Prof Gérard Labuschagne is adamant that the ongoing arson attacks cannot be describe as terrorism but must be revolving around a local issue in the Western Cape as it is the only area targeted.
“There must be a much bigger issue behind this, either on the side of angry commuters or on the side of angry employees,” says Labuschagne.
According to Harris the same modus operandi has been used in each of the attacks. A substance is used to ensure that the fire spreads rapidly while the coaches are standing on the platforms of train stations.
A month ago, UNTU called on the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to appoint a task team with the best of the countries experts to investigative who is behind this. The Minister has yet to respond.
Prasa in the meantime has just ten days left to put proper safety measures in place before the temporary safety permit issued earlier by the Railway Safety Regulator will lapse at midnight on 31 August 2018.
For more information phone Harris on 082 566 5516.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media and Liaison Officer. For UNTU Press Statements phone 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org