No arson involved in burning of passenger coaches

10 Mar 2014 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 10 MAR (NAMPA) – Four burning passenger coaches outside Windhoek had social networks buzzing over the weekend as people suspected that arsonists had set TransNamib property on fire.
The coaches had been set alight on a section of railroad siding, some 15 kilometres outside the capital in the direction of the Hosea Kutako International Airport on Saturday afternoon.
Siding is a short stretch of railroad track used to store rolling stock or enable trains on the same line to pass.
Nampa has however established that the coaches had been purchased from TransNamib by a Grootfontein recycling company and were in the process of being dismantled before being sold as scrap metal to a recycling company in Cape Town, South Africa.
The owner of Basson Steel and Wood, Jannie Basson told Nampa on Monday they bought nine passenger coaches from TransNamib.
“We had no choice but to burn the coaches to get rid of all materials that might catch fire when we use grinders and open gas flames to dismantle the coaches,” Basson stated, adding that such materials include wood, upholstery and soft metals like lead and aluminium.
“We could not set the train on fire in town as it might have posed a danger to residents due to the amount of smoke, and the Windhoek Fire Brigade would not allow us to dismantle it in town,” he said.
Basson explained that they also took into consideration that they did not want any smoke to go into town or nearby settlements like farms and guest farms, where it could have posed a health hazard.
He also gave his assurance that once they are done with the dismantling of the coaches, they will clean up the terrain. The remaining five coaches are also set to be dismantled, but the exact time when this will be done depends on the wind and the weather.
TransNamib’s Manager of Corporate Communications, Ailly Hangula-Paulino on Monday confirmed that the nine coaches were sold on tender and are no longer TransNamib assets.