Police probe deaths of women hit by train just before Fikile Mbalula's visit

Two women were struck by a train after trying to cross the tracks near Nyanga, Western Cape.
Two women were struck by a train after trying to cross the tracks near Nyanga, Western Cape.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Two women were killed after being struck by a train on Tuesday morning, just hours before transport minister Fikile Mbalula visited the Metrorail service in Cape Town.

Mbalula's visit was to evaluate the extent to which the service was in crisis.

Mbalula's train was due to depart at 5am but the minister and reporters were told that it would be delayed due to "wire theft and a passenger incident". The incident, it turned out, was the deaths of two women who had tried to cross the tracks near Nyanga station but were hit by a train.

"The circumstances surrounding the deaths of two women in their 30s are being investigated after they were struck by a train close to the Nyanga railway station this morning. Death inquest case dockets have been registered," said police spokesperson Lt-Col Andrè Traut.

Mbalula and reporters cut their journey short when the delay was announced, and instead of heading to Langa via rail, they were transported by shuttle.

Commuters noted that they were not afforded such a luxury. 

"We are just told to 'arrange alternative transport' when there's a delay, but what must we do? We can't afford taxis all the time," said a commuter.

Richard Walker, regional manager of Western Cape Metrorail, said that there was a "loose hanging wire" in the area, which was on the route to Langa where Mbalula addressed the media and promised to fix the problems with the Western Cape's rail service. 

Metrorail has been plagued by acts of arson, wire theft and robbery in recent years.

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