Alleged arsonists in court

Dan Fuphe

Dan Fuphe

Ten people arrested on Friday after a Metrorail train was set alight and other property damaged in Ekurhuleni are expected in court today.

Their appearance in the Daveyton district court is a sequel to the burning of the train's motor coach at Daveyton station.

Commuters went on the rampage after days of complaints about trains running late between Daveyton and Dunswart stations.

The arrest of the alleged arsonists came amid claims by commuters that Metrorail security personnel, helped by the SAPS and Ekurhuleni Metro police, had used force, including live ammunition, to quell the chaotic situation.

They showed Sowetan five empty bullet shells they claimed came from the live ammunition used by Metrorail security.

Morris Kumalo, 20, was hit in his left arm by a rubber bullet and Thandi Makhale, 16, suffered a knee injury after she was allegedly shot.

Police spokesman Inspector Nakedi Rapholo said those arrested were part of a hostile group who were agitated because trains had been running late.

Rapholo said apart from the damage to the train, five vehicles belonging to Metrorail staff and a police car were also damaged by commuters.

They burnt a container and computers and ripped a closed circuit television camera from a wall.

Superintendent Chris Matyila of the Daveyton police said those arrested would face arson and public violence charges.

Patience Phoku, 20, a tourism student at Springs College, said trains had been running late for almost a week.

"On Monday I was late," Phoku said. "On Tuesday I missed writing an important test and on Wednesday I was barred from entering the college campus by security.

"The last straw was yesterday when the college phoned my granny to complain that I was bunking classes."

Metrorail Gauteng regional manager Sisa Mtwa apologised for the inconvenience.