Public transport in the city was in disarray this morning after two carriages of a Metrorail train were set alight and a Golden Arrow bus was petrol- bombed.
Golden Arrow has blamed striking municipal workers – although this had not been confirmed at the time of going to press – for the attack on its bus, which was carrying passengers when it was set alight.
Metrorail spokeswoman Zinobulali Mihi said today that two carriages of a train at Nolungile station in Khayelitsha had been set alight by people she described as “vandals” at about 5am.
“We do not suspect any technical faults from our side. This was definitely vandalism. It’s very rife in that area,” said Mihi.
She said it was too early to assess the damage caused by the vandals’ attack.
Several furious commuters posting on Metrorail’s Facebook page today laid the blame squarely at the door of striking municipal workers.
Members of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have been involved in a protracted wage-related strike. It turned violent last week, prompting the City of Cape Town to obtain a court order barring the strikers from committing any violence.
Mihi said that between 60 and 70 buses had been organised to transport train commuters using the busy Khayelitsha line to work.
Golden Arrow was not immediately able to say whether its bus, which was stoned and set alight at the old Harare terminus around 6am, was being used to help Metrorail passengers at the time of the attack.
Company spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said: “After stoning the bus, they petrol-bombed it.” She identified the culprits as striking municipal workers.
City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue spokesman Theo Layne said no injuries were reported in either blaze. Firefighters in two fire engines had extinguished both fires, and Layne described the bus as being “completely gutted”.
Contacted for comment, City of Cape Town spokeswoman Kylie Hatton could not immediately confirm whether the two incidents were related to strike or protest action.
Samwu’s Andre Adams told the Cape Argus today he was not aware of the incidents, nor the allegations, and said he could not understand how the attacks could possibly be linked with striking workers. He said the only action being taken by Samwu workers in Cape Town today was picketing outside various workplaces.