Photo: Supplied
The failing commuter railway system in Cape Town had become a major threat to the local economy, and it is time for drastic measures, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

There is a pattern to the arson attacks on trains, and we must ask why, and who is behind it. Who can possibly gain from this destruction?

We need criminal intelligence so that we can go after the organisers and chop off the head of this monster. There should be many people in a position to provide vital information. They may be passengers, union members or other criminals. We don’t know, but we must start pressing for their information.

We also need to talk to people like the scrap merchants, because they may well have vital information.

They know and understand the scrap industry and how it works, so they are the people most likely to have useful information. I appeal to them to come forward and help us save our trains.

This year the Cape Chamber conducted a survey of its members to find out how the crisis was affecting business. More than 86% of respondents said the situation threatened the sustainability of their businesses. Since then the situation has got worse and losses to the local economy must run to millions of rand a month. The estimated costs of the attacks ranges between R30million and R50m. There were also human costs.

Conditions on Metrorail trains have become a nightmare, and employers tell of staff arriving at work in tears and leaving for home with fear in their eyes.

Anybody with information about the fires should call the Railway Police at 021 443 4325.

Janine Myburgh

President

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry