Cape Town's central rail lines still closed

2016-09-21 17:40
A Metrorail train comes to a standstill before reaching Cape Town station. (Image: Adiel Ismail)

A Metrorail train comes to a standstill before reaching Cape Town station. (Image: Adiel Ismail)

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Cape Town - Metrorail's trains to Khayelitsha and Kapteinsklip would remain suspended for the rest of Wednesday and Thursday, due to damage from protests, the company has said.

"This decision follows extensive damage suffered yesterday during the height of the Langa service delivery protests," spokesperson Riana Scott said.

Apparatus cases, track boxes between the Bonteheuwel and Langa stations, signals and train carriages were damaged, and Metrorail technicians needed time to assess the full extent of the damage, she said.

"Only after their assessment can repairs be prioritised and timelines be confirmed to reinstate a partial or full service."

The company would not be able to provide buses, due to the high numbers of commuters that used the line.

Regional manager Richard Walker said all stations on the central service corridor would be closed and no tickets would be sold until Metrorail was happy that it was safe to operate a partial or limited service that would not endanger staff or customers.

The company had reached "the point of no return" after almost a year of being under "sustained attacked", he continued.

"Soon we will have to make the difficult decision - can we continue to operate train services safely, given the extent to which critical infrastructure remains targeted?"

The company regretted the inconvenience to customers and condemned the vandalism.

Walker said he hoped there would be more clarity on Thursday about when services would resume.

Protests over housing started in Langa on Monday night. Police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to occupy the N2 with a burning barricade.

Protesters released on bail

One person was arrested with a petrol bomb, and 40 others, including three minors, were held for public violence.

Thirty-seven people appeared in Bishop Lavis Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and were granted bail of R300 each. They would appear in court again on October 11, said National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

Three minors would have a separate court case.

On Tuesday night, another 35 people were arrested when they marched to the police station to demand the release of those arrested earlier. They would appear in court on a different date.

Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that the petrol bomb suspect was also granted R300 bail.

Ntabazalila said 35 other people went to the Langa police station on Tuesday night to demand the release of those who had earlier been arrested. They were then also arrested, but have not yet appeared in court.

Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said that, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, protesters tried to close the N2 by lighting numerous fires.

Read more on:    metrorail  |  cape town  |  transport

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