Torched trains a R70m setback

2012-10-12 20:01

Pretoria - Repairing the damage caused by the torching of two trains in Mabopane, north of Pretoria will cost about R70 million, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said on Friday.

Prasa rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said train services to that corridor had been suspended indefinitely.

"The conditions at this stage are not appropriate for us to run our services on that corridor," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"It's about time our people learn that these are public assets and you cannot resort to damage, arson, and theft when there is a problem."

Two Metrorail trains were set alight by irate commuters on Thursday after train services were delayed in bad weather.

Mofi said eight coaches were torched at Kopanong station and one at Akasia.

Both trains were en route to Mabopane from Koedoespoort station, east of Pretoria.

He said the trains were running "extremely late" on Thursday because of the rainy weather. The situation was exacerbated by the old Metrorail infrastructure.

"A lightning strike had resulted in a power failure, affecting control panels and overhead power," he said.

"It must be appreciated that we run our rail operations with old infrastructure, which is prone to constant failure."

The withdrawal of the train service would affect more than 60 000 commuters in the area.

On Friday, the Democratic Alliance condemned the torching of trains.

DA Gauteng spokesperson Neil Campbell called on police to bring the attackers to book.

"If the perpetrators of the coach torching can be identified, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Campbell said though the attack was unjustified, the DA believed it showed commuters were not satisfied with the Prasa service.

"The incidents highlight the anger being felt by commuters at the dismal performance of Prasa and its decrepit trains, outdated signalling, and its total inability to provide reliable, punctual, safe, and affordable public transport to commuters," Campbell said.

"They also highlight the lack of efficacy of the SA Police Service, which took over the function of the old railway police and on whose shoulders the responsibility to protect passengers and Prasa property now rests," he said.

  • civil.moabi - 2012-10-12 20:16

    i dnt blame them metro rail services are very poor

      sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-10-12 20:22

      @ Civil, maybe you don't blame them, but do you think their solution is logical? Instead of metrorail upgrading their service, they must now spend the money on fixing the damage. Everyone loses - there is no winner here!

      nicolas.gombert.16 - 2012-10-12 20:28


      rupert.magande - 2012-10-12 20:40

      @civil if all the trains are delayed by bad weather for a week and the commuters torch them , at the end of the week there will be no commuter trains left . so how will the masses travel now . even though the service is poor , dont burn down the trains .

      chris.summers.3954 - 2012-10-12 20:42

      Service is poor, therefore you burn the trains? African mentality at it's very best.

      boltonbarry - 2012-10-12 21:00

      Well if there feet are more reliable than the trains let them use those to walk where ever they need to be

      Chaapo - 2012-10-13 02:49

      South Africans are mad! That is all can say.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-10-13 09:35

      moabi What do you mean you don't blame them, this is despicable, would you tolerate or, perhaps you would, permit your kids or sibblings to commit arson. To think this way is as bad as to commit the act,

      masamune.azeem - 2012-10-14 01:25

      I agree with civil.moabi. If you havent been on the trains dont even comment,cause you have no idea of what you talking about. Doors dont close,trains always late,dirty trains,crime the list is endless, yet they make millions. This is not the gautrain we talking about. Burn the damn trains.taxis and buses are the alternative.

  • Gatvol Griet - 2012-10-12 20:23

    Brilliant, Prasa!! About time a message is sent that hooliganism won't be tolerated.

  • Bfoq.Za - 2012-10-12 20:27

    What do they expect? I have sent various emails to parliament, PRASA and our competent President regarding PRASA'r callous disrespect for their commuters...

  • nicolas.gombert.16 - 2012-10-12 20:29

    And one day we will open our eyes and there will be nothing left. What has not been killed, stolen or broken would have been torched.

  • edmund.roux - 2012-10-12 20:31

    You would think that there would be someone to stop the burning of a commodity that will end up costing R70m to repair? And if it is a group then you are dealing with terrorism.. send in the army? Letting your "citizens" burn down or participate in violent acts on a daily basis is erm... not smart

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-12 20:57

    Every member of the transport union should be made to pay out of their future wages..then we will see how they burn and destroy next time!

  • motleleng - 2012-10-12 21:02

    Stop all the train services till next year, we don't need this kind of behaviour...if there is a bad service, use a taxi or a bus..

      gilbert.mudau1 - 2012-10-12 21:56

      They say if you don't have anything to say keep quiet. There are people working in Joburg from Mabopane. They travel everyday Mon-Fri. Do u know how much they will pay if using taxi. They are not the ones who burned the train down. Think before you comment. And think with your brain not your hart.

      masamune.azeem - 2012-10-14 01:31

      I say burn the damn train, thats the only language these companies know.The state of these trains is appalling honestly,yet they make millions. The torching was wrong but people are tired, the damn infrastructure should have been fixed a long time ago

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-10-12 21:07

    How can you build a country with brainless people like this. Thank goodness I don't have children. All they will have is a poor education and ashes from what their fathers burnt. Fools.

  • deon.meiring - 2012-10-12 21:13

    Yes, burn down SA! Stupid ....very stupid

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-12 21:51

    How stupid can they be? Set the trains alight because its running late due to bad weather and now they have no transport at all! And the same goes for burning down schools, libraries or municipal properties when they are unhappy about something! Then they have even less or nothing at all. And again another reason for violent protests! :(

  • freddie.mostert.3 - 2012-10-12 22:06

    Are you happy with your new south africa now? I mean this is what you wanted, well you get it! NĂȘ ou FW EN KIE?

  • alaina.nel.12 - 2012-10-12 22:52

    Their way of thinking is very scary.That is why they can't even pass matric.Dumb barbarians just like there leader Zuma

  • jimmy.ngwenya.94 - 2012-10-12 23:31

    i,m nt tryin to justify trains being torched but even when the weather is perfectly fine prasa or metrorail services are poor.bad weather is just an xcuse

  • jimmy.ngwenya.94 - 2012-10-12 23:31

    i,m nt tryin to justify trains being torched but even when the weather is perfectly fine prasa or metrorail services are poor.bad weather is just an xcuse

  • jacque.raymer - 2012-10-13 00:58

    Welcome to the new Zimbabwe ...

      Chaapo - 2012-10-13 10:48

      For all their problems, you do not see Zimbos destroying public property. Could it be they are better educated to know that it is their taxes which end up paying for replacement and that burning public assets only disadvantages them when they need to travel to what few jobs there are? Perhaps a combination of both. So, yes, it may be akin to Zim on some level but definitely not on a level of the violence which is the daily fare in SA.

  • adriaan.delange.94 - 2012-10-13 03:52

    Don't repair them. Then we will see how will they get from A to B. Let them walk, because they cannot look after the equipment supplied to them to get from A to B.

  • Nkitsing Bokaba - 2012-10-13 05:07

    Black people dnt know office work does way every day .prasa say sorry commuters,de business policy say customer first,but prasa say customer after .prasa dnt respect staff always say we already clock we don't care ,our ticket ir running ,if u have a broblem go to taxi.this is a day light armed robbery from prasa.we need white people to take back de government (DA)

      kagiso.sebolai - 2012-10-13 13:09

      We wena le mang...u stupid boss

  • arnold.niemand.5 - 2012-10-13 06:46

    Got to be one of the most destructive nations on earth.No reasoning ability at all, just wanton destruction.

  • tiaan.vanderberg.75 - 2012-10-13 06:48

    Burn the beloved country!

  • Michael Kleber - 2012-10-13 07:20

    This primitive action of destroying things when you cannot get your own way just shows how little people have developed in fact this behavior is one notch above caveman mentality and just shows their lack of logic and intelligence sadly .

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-10-13 09:25

    Zille has condemned this act of brainlessness, ssssshhh is that zuma's voice I hear..hark no its the wind. This is an act of arson

  • kagiso.sebolai - 2012-10-13 11:36

    Prasa must learn to take us serious....if u dont use metrorail dont comment bcuz u dont know what i am talking about......

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