Fire Damage To Cape Town Trains Exceeding R60 Million – Mbalula

Cape Town trains on fire
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and officials from Prasa briefed the media at Cape Town Train Station on 28 November 2019 after 18 train carriages were destroyed in a fire. Picture: @MbalulaFikile/Twitter

The cost of the damage to Metrorail infrastructure continues to escalate.

Train services were thrown into disarray on Thursday after 18 train carriages were destroyed in a fire at Cape Town Train Station.

Metrorail said early indications were that an accelerant was used and investigators did not rule out the possibility that the fire was started deliberately. There were more than 20 train fires in the province this year.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the cost of the damages exceeded R60 million.

“The damaged is estimated at R61 million and over the last five years, 213 coaches were lost due to arson at a cost of R643 million. We are outraged at this deliberate act of criminality,” he said.

Mbalula said he was under no illusion that the recent cancellation of security contracts by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa was a contributing element to the heightened lawlessness.

He said four suspects were identified on CCTV footage, but no arrests were made.

The minister conducted a site inspection at Cape Town Train Station hours after Western Cape Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela briefed the media there. He believes a syndicate was behind the spate of attacks on Metrorail trains.


Thanks for reading and for your interest in South Africa. Content is produced in collaboration between iAfrica’s editorial team and partners — including nongovernmental organizations, private sector stakeholders, agencies and institutions. If you are interested in sharing stories to shine a spotlight on a particular issue, please email We look forward to hearing from you.