Cape Town – A 14-year-old pupil from De Waveren Primary School in Ruyterwacht has been taken in for questioning in connection with arson that destroyed 18 train carriages worth R61million at Cape Town station.
This after a fellow schoolmate recognised the identikit released by Metrorail of two suspects sought in connection with the blaze in the early hours of November 28.
A school teacher, who was alerted on Monday afternoon, immediately went to the house of the pupil. A member of the Elsies River Community Policing Forum said: “The learner’s grandmother told the teacher that her grandson told her he was one of the two guys who allegedly set the train alight. “The learner also told his grandmother that he was threatened by the second suspect from Delft, who said if he didn’t co-operate his family would be hurt.”
Shortly after the conversation, the teacher took the pupil to Elsies River police station from where he was transferred to the Cape Town police station, where he was questioned by investigators. Apparently the pupil also told investigators the whereabouts of the second suspect and where he lives in Delft.
The pair are to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court once they have been charged. Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said they heard rumours about an arrest, but didn’t get any official confirmation from the police.
Paddy Attwell, spokesperson for the Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said: “We cannot comment on the police investigation. The law must take its course.”
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said: “Be advised that SAPS detectives are hard at work following up several leads pertaining to the burning of 18 train carriages in Cape Town on Thursday, November 28.
“Thus far, no one has been charged in connection with the incident.”
Train arsonists destroying Cape Town’s public transport system could face imprisonment of up to 20 years.
This comes in the wake of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which was assented into law by the Presidency on November 21.
The purpose of the Act is to provide for measures to be put in place for the protection, safeguarding and resilience of critical infrastructures.
The Act further allows for decisive action to be taken against people who destroy critical infrastructures such as trains and buses.
According to Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, the act will come into operation on a date determined by the president in the government Gazette.
Thereafter Police Minister Bheki Cele must declare the specified infrastructure as critical infrastructure before the act becomes applicable to it.