Ombudsman to probe cops inability to solve Cape train arson cases
The ombudsman, Johan Brand, was reacting to a request received last week from Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, who had urged “an urgent investigation” into the matter following the fire early on Thursday last week that destroyed 18 carriages.
The ombudsman said: “We hereby confirm that we will be investigating this matter, as received by MEC Fritz, in terms of Section 17(2) of the Community Safety Act, 2013.”
Fritz said last week: “We have had several incidents of attacks on our train system over the past few months and the police have been unable to bring anyone to book.
I have therefore written to the Office of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman to request that he urgently investigate the inability of SAPS in the Western Cape to resolve this deliberate attack.
SAPS cannot afford to respond ex post facto and must take a proactive approach to preventing attacks on our railway infrastructure.”
On Tuesday, Deputy Director for Communications Deidré Foster, said: “We have a team of experienced investigators who will work closely with the ombudsman to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted.
“Our plans are to call for public comment in the coming weeks to ensure that we have a balanced view of this critical issue.
“We aim to conclude our investigation within three months, and will keep the MEC’s office abreast of all pertinent developments,” said Foster.
The latest fire took place at Cape Town Station between 2.20am and 4.53am last Thursday morning. It is alleged the fire was deliberate, as an accelerant was used.
“No injuries were reported. However, these incidents have a significant impact on the well-being of our citizens and the economy of the Western Cape,” said Fritz.@MwangiGithahu