“It is alleged that two suspects were seen disembarking and running away from the station and shortly thereafter smoke was seen coming from the train,” said police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana.
They were investigating a case of malicious damage to property after two more coaches were allegedly torched on Saturday - a day after Transport Minister Blade Nzimande inspected two trains burnt a few days earlier at the same station.
Passenger Rail Agency SA (Prasa) spokesperson Nana Zenani said from July 21-28 three “senseless incidents of burnings of Prasa trains” caused millions in damage.
On Thursday a train was allegedly set alight in Retreat, the fifth train burnt this year.
The Retreat incident came after two coaches were burnt in Cape Town Central station on Saturday last week. The platforms’ cabling was damaged, amounting to a loss of R30m.
“It is clear this is the work of people who have placed themselves as enemies of Prasa, enemies of our commuters and enemies of the South African government.
“No stone will be left unturned to find those responsible for this senseless malicious damage. The target will not only be the foot soldiers who carry out these crimes but also those who command them and stand to benefit from these criminal acts,” said Zenani.
“Protecting our commuters and assets is part of our duty as a democratic state to stem lawlessness and impunity.” Zenani said Prasa’s board and management were working hard to recover the rolling stock and network.
“We are working to return the service to one that is safe, available, reliable and on time. This is our commitment to the South African public.
“Our commitment and resolve will not be hampered by senseless acts of violence against our rolling stock and network meant to feed the gluttony of a few.”
She called on communities to support Prasa in identifying the suspects and “keeping guard of the rail assets”.
Anyone with information can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 0860010111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.