File picture: City of Cape Town

Only two arrests and no convictions relating to train arson attacks in the city in more than a decade.

This is not acceptable for Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who is seeking an urgent meeting with provincial police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula to address the matter, her spokesperson, Marcellino Martin, told the SABC.

The arson damage to trains over the past four months has amounted to around R51 million – at least R210 million over the past five years. 

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) requires 88 train sets to run an effective service. Currently, due to arson, cable theft and vandalism, the available sets were down to below 40. 

"It is wholly unacceptable that not a single person has been held accountable for these brazen attacks, many of which are initiated in broad daylight and in busy carriages. The question must be asked, why? 

"The Western Cape Government, through the Department of Community Safety, has already committed a R100 000 reward to anyone who provides information to the police which results in the arrest and successful conviction."

It is hoped that the new, dedicated Rail Enforcement Unit, comprising 100 law enforcement officers, will ease fears when they are deployed from the end of the month.