Mayor Dan Plato said that he will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that the Hawks be tasked with investigating train arson. Picture: Supplied
Mayor Dan Plato said that he will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that the Hawks be tasked with investigating train arson. Picture: Supplied

Plato calls for Hawks task team to probe train arson in Cape

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Nov 28, 2019

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Cape Town - City of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said that he will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that the Hawks be tasked with establishing a special unit to investigate the burning of trains in Cape Town.

This comes after City's Fire and Rescue Service were called to respond to the blaze at Cape Town Station on platforms 10 and 16 at 2.20am. The fire soon spread to adjacent platforms, destroying two full train sets comprising 18 carriages and was extinguished at 4.53am.

"As 18 more train carriages burn and thousands of commuters suffer the consequences of not being able to get to work and school on time, and jobs are lost, the people in charge show no plan of action as nobody is held accountable for this economic sabotage," Plato said.

"Today I will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that the Hawks be tasked with establishing a special unit to investigate.

"Over the past three years, more than 140 train carriages, which make up over 40 train sets have been burnt in several separate incidents yet not a single person has been prosecuted. One person deemed to be mentally unfit was arrested some months ago, but other than that the South African Police Services (SAPS) detective services have failed the people of this city," Plato said.

Plato went on to call the rail service "a shadow of its former self" leaving commuters abandoning the trains thus leading to our roads clogging "up with more cars, buses and taxis". 

"Prasa, Metrorail and SAPS need to get their house in order. We cannot continue to allow their failures to impact the residents of this city.

"If those managing the rail service do not want to run the railway, then hand it over to those who have shown they can govern effectively. Our residents deserve better," Plato said.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela also pleaded for co-operation with all stakeholders, especially on a national government level, to finally put a stop to the train arson attacks crippling the service in the Western Cape.

At a briefing after Thursday's fire, Madikizela said he believes there is a syndicate behind the arson attacks since last year and cannot comprehend that they still haven't been caught.

Cape Argus

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