Angry commuters attempted to burn a train at Naledi Station on Friday morning but ended up damaging 15 cars belonging to Metrorail crew at the depot.
As a result, the Naledi train line has been suspended until Sunday.
According to Metrorail, the violence follows the disruption of the train service running between Naledi and Johannesburg due to overhead wires that were stolen at the station.
“It is unfortunate that we have to temporarily suspend the Naledi train service until Sunday as the train crew has to emotionally deal with the shock of vandalized personal belongings. This negative growing behavior in commuters of vandalizing assets is condemned in strongest possible terms and will unfortunately lead to total service suspension if it continues,” said Goodman Matampi, Acting Provincial Manager of Gauteng Metrorail.
For the time being, a diesel locomotive has been arranged from Braamfontein to pull trains out of the section with no power at Naledi.
Arrangements for buses are being made for loyal monthly and weekly ticket holders between Naledi and Midway stations.
Gauteng metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said technicians are currently at the affected areas assessing damages with a view to start replacing the stolen cables.
“Metrorail management sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused and pleads with commuters and employers to be patient as Metrorail technicians work hard around the clock to replace the stolen cables.” she added.
Commuters are urged to report any criminals behavior witnessed within operational area to protection services officials at stations and nearby police stations.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed that three suspects have been arrested and charged with malicious damage to property and the other suspects are being sought by the police.
“The suspects were stopped on their way to burn the train by police and security guards. One car was burnt and nine others were were damaged of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) employees. We are still investigating the matter,” said Makhubele.