Public urged to submit comments on train arson

South Africa - Cape Town - 28 November 2019 - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula addressed the media after a sight inspection of Cape Town Station following the burning of 18 train carriages overnight. Minister Mbalula was joined by officials from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) as well as Metro Rail Western Cape management. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

The office of the provincial police ombudsman has, in terms of the Western Cape Community Safety Act, launched an investigation into SAPS’ alleged inefficiency to prevent, combat, investigate and make arrests in incidents of arson attack and damage to rail commuter services operated by Metrorail, a division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

Albert Fritz, the MEC for Community Safety, approached the provincial police ombudsman, former high-ranking police officer, Johannes Jurgens Brand, last year to investigate why SAPS had been unable to identify or arrest suspects involved in a number of train arson attacks, which have severely impacted on the Cape Town rail system.

A notice was published in the Provincial Government Gazette on December 12 last year, inviting comments from the public on the investigation

Mr Fritz has called on the public to submit comments that will aid the investigation.

“I encourage members of the public to provide their comments to enable the ombudsman’s office to make an informed finding and recommendations. Submissions regarding the investigation can be made up until Friday January 31.”

The written representations should be marked for the attention of Mr JJ Brand and delivered by hand, post, email or fax as follows: By hand to the 6th Floor, NBS Waldorf Building, 80 St George’s Mall, Cape Town 8001; by post to Private Bag X9043, Cape Town 8000; by email to; or by fax to 021 483 0660.

Mr Fritz said he had been informed by the ombudsman that in the interim, the investigation will continue with interviews and the gathering of evidence.

“I am reassured by the progress made and look forward to the outcome of the investigation,” he said.

The provincial SAPS office did not respond to requests for comment on the progress of their investigation into these attacks.