Following the latest two trains to be set alight at the Cape Town station, South African Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that acts of vandalism have cost the country 43 million dollars.
The minister said the torching of trains has resulted in the gutting of 18 coaches.
According to the minister, 213 coaches have been lost due to arson in the last five years, costing the country some 43 million dollars in damages.
“The state of lawlessness in our commuter rail environment must be uprooted. We will use every resource at our disposal to find these criminals and ensure that they face the full might of the law.
“It is time our social partners stepped [up] to the plate and work with government and law enforcement authorities in ensuring that public assets are protected,” Mbalula stated when he addressed the media at the train station.
“We are outraged at this deliberate act of criminality that is clearly calculated to paralyse the Metrorail Service in Cape Town. Over time, Metrorail has been a target of criminal acts which have had a devastating effect on the service.
“These acts have far reaching implications for the economy and the commuters who rely on our trains to get to work every day,” Mbalula continued.
“We will never defeat this cancer of lawlessness until such time communities declare that criminal conduct will not be perpetuated in their name.
“The cries of workers who lose their jobs due to chronic late-coming as a result of trains that delay must spur all of us into action. If we throw our hands up in the air in exasperation, the criminals would have won,” the minister said.