Suburban trains used to run on time. Mostly. Now it’s as if they are routinely sabotaged according to a timetable: "The 7.43 due to arrive on platform 4 is on fire again …" This year in the Western Cape alone 47 coaches have been destroyed by arson. Since 2015, the total is more than 150 coaches — the equivalent of at least 20 trains, worth hundreds of millions of rands. In KwaZulu-Natal, all train services were suspended last week because the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said it feared for the safety of staff and commuters.This is public arson on a grand scale: sustained, flagrant and widespread. Who is doing it? There is a theory that the ANC is somehow orchestrating the attacks on Cape Flats trains, to undermine the province’s DA government. But that would not stand up in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, where coaches are also regularly set on fire but where the ANC is the governing party.These acts can hardly all be on the spur of the moment — though the arson does seem to coin...

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