Following Thursday morning’s blaze at Cape Town train station – which left two trains and 18 carriages damaged – CCTV footage has revealed four people were behind the incident.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and Metrorail officials visited the station for an inspection on Thursday afternoon, hours after Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela briefed the media.
Metrorail said early indications were that an accelerant was used.
“We’ve seen them … in their kortbroekies [shorts] on CCTV footage,” Mbalula said, before confirming that four people have been identified and that “it’s up to the police now to affect arrests”.
He reiterated his claim that a syndicate was behind the sabotage, saying “when we catch these ones, we want to say to them they must bring their bosses. This lawlessness must end”.
Mbalula said those who have made it their mission to cripple the state and the day-to-day commute of people will not win. “We won’t allow the state to be held to ransom.”
Meanwhile, Prasa’s regional co-ordinator, Richard Walker, revealed the extent of the damage was in the tens of millions: R61m for the trains and R150m for overhead damage.
Walker said structural damage would also need to be taken into account for a full cost measure to be determined.
Asked if security guards were deployed on Wednesday night, Walker said they were and the CCTV cameras were in operation, which led to the identification of the four suspects.
Earlier, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said he would be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to ask that the Hawks be tasked with setting up a special unit to investigate the burning of trains in Cape Town.
Walker assured commuters Prasa was working around the clock to ensure services would be back to normal in the quickest possible time.