The Cape Chamber of Commerce says it’s concerned that the train service in the Cape Peninsula is at the point of collapse.
The body says the on-going vandalism of Metrorail property is having a negative effect on business and the indigent who depend on the rail service.
Recent damages have already run into tens of millions of rand.
More than 15 carriages have been torched and rail infrastructure damaged in recent weeks.
Commuters have been left stranded and the local economy is at risk. Valuable working hours have also been lost.
“I stay in Rondebosch and arrived at the station at around 6:52am in the morning and only got a train at 8:20am. And you can imagine how your boss will be angry when you get to work, so it has affected me drastically,” says a commuter.
“It was chaos we all had to take taxis to get to work, and I think it was absolutely disgusting because we wanted our money back, our monthlies, our weeklies that we have paid for this week,” says another commuter.
The Cape Chamber of Commerce says it’s tantamount to a civic emergency.
The Chamber’s president, Janine Myburgh says: “If you look at it about 732 000 people commute a day. In the morning and the evening. So if each of those are late by one hour which we’ve heard people are late by two and a half hours at times those are the main hours that are lost and that’s the amount of money the economy cannot afford to lose. So, it must be addressed.”
Metrorail spokesperson, Riana Scott says: “This is an orchestrated attempt to bring Metrorail to it’s knees. These incidents have been ongoing since 2014. Thankfully, there has been no loss of life. However, who ever is behind these acts of sabotage are designed to create maximum havoc in peak hour so the police are investigating this and see if they can establish a pattern, but we can definitely say it’s not incidental.”
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) which is locked in a labour dispute with the rail operator, has denied any involvement.