Now it's war, says Metrorail official after another Cape Town train is burnt

Cape Town – It is now open warfare between criminals and Metrorail in the Western Cape, regional manager Richard Walker warned on Friday after another train was set alight in the early hours of the morning.

Calling it "a siege", Walker said another four carriages were destroyed by fire in the Kraaifontein staging yard shortly after midnight. The affected train-set was designated to the Kraaifontein – Muldersvlei route, Metrorail said in a statement.

"This morning’s incident of deliberate destruction follows in the wake of last Saturday’s fire, where two adjoining trains were set alight on platforms 11 and 12 at Cape Town Station."
Walker said they would apply for another interdict on Friday - this time to prevent further intimidation of staff and to prevent illegal strikers from entering their premises.
He claimed the illegal strikers have intimidated staff and "circulated incendiary propaganda" trying to garner support for their illegal action.

Wilful destruction of state infrastructure

"We will summarily dismiss any employee who contravenes company policy or a court order. It is time to rid the region of criminals who masquerade as employees."

He slammed the wilful destruction of vital state infrastructure.

"No person in their right mind will destroy innocent people’s only means of transport.

"Employers are driven to discipline and terminate employment in desperation because workers are left with unreliable transport, through no fault of their own," he said

"The social and economic impact of such criminal actions on the province is incalculable."

He assured commuters that management was doing everything within their power to bring an end to the disruption caused by illegal strikers.

Email your employer proof of delays

Walker commended employees who had refused to be drawn into the strike and who were focused on continuing to operate trains under very difficult circumstances.

"The Western Cape region has a finite fleet of 89 train-sets to operate 698 trains every weekday, 360 trains on Saturdays and 225 trains on Sundays. The loss of 32 carriages destroyed in six separate incidents since October last year holds a serious risk of overcrowding."

The escalation of deliberate vandalism could not be a coincidence, Walker said.

The vandalism of the trains resulted in delays of an hour or more on most lines.

He apologised to commuters for bearing the brunt of delays.

"Anyone requiring proof of delays for employers may request letters of confirmation at stations or register for the 'Email my boss' option on the mobi-site”."
A reward of up to R100 000 has been offered for anyone providing information that would secure a conviction.
Anyone with information is requested to contact report crime or suspicious behaviour to any of the following numbers:
- Crime Stop (08600 10111)
- Crime Tip-offs (Sms 32211)
- Metrorail Protection Services (021 449 4336)
- Transport Information Centre (0800 65 64 63)

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