Immediate action required to find solutions to targeted attacks
After receiving disturbing news about yet another incident of burning trains, I made a number of calls to get all the information before visiting the station to see for myself the extent of the damage caused by this morning’s fire.
Two trains were reported on fire, damaging 18 carriages, creating havoc for the thousands of commuters who rely on this system daily, and adding immense pressure to an already highly constrained, and massively under-resourced rail system. This is a massive blow to any rail recovery plan.
To my surprise, PRASA refused to accompany me and grant me access to the station despite having earlier agreed to this. I find it shocking and hard to believe that people who are burning our trains cannot be arrested. This is just one of several similar incidents and the perpetrators would have been long arrested if we had proper intelligence.
There is clearly a syndicate that is sabotaging the system. The National Department of Transport and PRASA must stop being territorial and come to the party so that we can find solutions to this problem.
Since the establishment of the PRASA war room, I have been requesting without success, to have access to the war room so that I can understand the work that is being done.
Since my appointment in May, I committed myself to work with the national Minister of Transport and PRASA to deal with the challenges facing our rail system but I keep getting pushback. People are being territorial.
I will write to Minister Fikile Mbalula about events of this morning and ask for his cooperation as I believe that it is only through all spheres of government working together that we can deal with the challenges.
My cabinet colleague Minister Albert Fritz has also written to the Police Ombudsman to reiterate his request that SAPS' inability to identify the perpetrators of these attacks and make arrests, be investigated.
The people of the Western Cape deserve a better train service.