Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says the torching of trains and damage of Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA) infrastructure is tantamount to economic sabotage. He was speaking outside the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s court where a case of four suspects arrested for burning twelve Metrorail train coaches in December was expected to resume.

However, the case was not placed on the court roll due to insufficient evidence.

PRASA says the suspects were cutting copper when the twelve Metrorail train coaches caught fire causing damage estimated at R50 million. The suspects were arrested on Friday and were due in court on Monday.

However, Chief Public Prosecutor Pumeza Futshane says they will be released.

“That’s not letting them loose. They have the right to be released until there’s a well-formulated case against them and they will be re-arrested.”

Mbalula has called on the Criminal Justice System to impose the harshest possible penalties on those involved in such crimes.

“We want to make an example of these criminals and thorough work by law enforcement must be undertaken.”