Passenger seat on Cape Town train set alight

Police are on the scene after a passenger seat on a Cape Town train was set alight on Tuesday.

Read: Saboteurs behind train torching 'pretend to be commuters' – Cape Town transport head

City of Cape Town fire and rescue services spokesperson Theo Layne said the seat was set alight at 11:30 but it was not reported to the City because it was quickly put out.

A staffer at Cape Town station, who did not want to be named, said they had managed to quell the fire while it was small.

A strong burning smell still permeated the air as curious commuters walked past slowly to see what was happening on platform 11.

Some commuters commented out loud that they had had enough of trains being targeted.

The latest incident comes as several train carriages have been torched, amounting to more than R50 million in damages.

In the last three months, four trains were apparently hit by arsonists. Most recently, two carriages were set alight at Cape Town station on Saturday.

On Thursday, five carriages and overhead power cables were damaged when a train was torched at Retreat station.

Last Saturday, two coaches were burnt at Cape Town station and the platform's cabling was damaged.

In May, a commuter was killed in a fire near Ottery station while another suffered severe burn wounds.

The torching of trains and other vandalism has become so severe that Metrorail's central line, which previously had 33 trains transporting commuters in Cape Town, is now down to only eight.

Last week Transport Minister Blade Nzimande conducted a walkabout at Prasa's Paarden Eiland depot, where he viewed the damages to the state owned enterprise's infrastructure.

"Prasa spends a lot of money on security, but to me it looks like we're not getting value for money. It really needs to be addressed, but it's broader than that," Nzimande said at the time.

"We need to look short to medium term on what needs to be done in order to secure the trains. Securing it is not just securing this metal, but the people, human beings, passengers, the working class who are using these trains in the main."

Also read: Cape Town train attacks by numbers

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)