Picture: One Second Alerts
Train fires have cost the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) nearly R636 million over the past three-and-a-half years - this excludes the R150 million damages to Cape Town station since October 2015.

According to Prasa figures and to us as commuters, it can’t be business as usual while commuters are the victims of these situations - someone needs to take responsibility; and it also exposes the lack of security within Prasa.

First, it was the cable theft that led to the shutdown of the train signalling in the Central line.

The question we asked ourselves was who was behind the cable theft because not any Jack and Jill can go and dig the ground in search of the cable, there must be someone who knows where the cable is.

The problem has escalated from cable theft to train burnings, marked by Tuesday’s incident.

It seems as though it was something that was well planned because it happened at the same time as Prasa was addressing a portfolio committee on transport - then an announcement came that there’s a train fire in Cape Town station, which is about 1.3km from the national Parliament.

There must be someone who is well informed behind this; we call for a proper investigation to dig deep into these arson attacks. We see this as an attack on the country and its economy because most of the working-class communities depend on these trains in order to earn a living.

It also raises lots of questions about our crime intelligence. Something needs to be done immediately.

A total of 1 496 Prasa coaches were vandalised nationally in the 2017/18 financial year. Since August 2018, 61 coaches have been vandalised nationally - 15 in the Western Cape.

The province now has only 48 train sets available out of a required 88. We call on Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene in this Prasa crisis. People on the ground are suffering and, as a result, some of the commuters have lost their jobs.

Dalton Ndongeni

Public Transport Voice