Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS/NTSWE MOKOENA
Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS/NTSWE MOKOENA

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has "cleared his schedule" to visit Cape Town on Friday after the latest in a series of train fires.

Brett Herron‚ Cape Town’s MEC for transport‚ said he would join Nzimande at the Metrorail depot in Paarden Island "to view the damage to [rail] infrastructure due to sustained attacks on Metrorail trains in the past few months".

Nzimande’s visit follows a fire on Thursday that damaged five carriages of a train at Retreat station‚ in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. "As a result‚ commuters who are travelling to the far south will have to travel at least an hour longer to get home this evening‚" said Herron.

While the cause of the fire was still being determined‚ "it follows on an alleged arson attack on Saturday when several carriages of two train sets were destroyed at the Cape Town station".

Herron added: "The sabotage of our rail system is relentless. The city is willing and eager to work with the Department of Transport‚ the Passenger Rail Authority of SA (Prasa) and Metrorail.

"I have regular engagements with the leadership from Prasa and Metrorail‚ and I am hoping to forge the same working relationship with Minister Nzimande so that we can work together to address these challenges. The urban rail system is the backbone of public transport in Cape Town with thousands of commuters relying on the service. We must step up our efforts to prevent it from further decline."