Parliament's transport portfolio committee acting chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane led a parliamentary delegation to Cape Town Central Station to inspect the damage caused by violent protests. Picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA Pictures

Parliament’s portfolio committee on transport cut short its scheduled meeting on Tuesday so MPs could conduct a site visit at the Cape Town station following Monday night’s chaos which saw two trains set alight and shops vandalised and looted when trains were delayed.

In a statement, acting committee chairman Leonard Ramatlakane expressed shock at the incident.

“Burning trains is not a solution. Instead, it exacerbates the transport challenges that our people encounter. This is the only thing we have to move people to work. We must find a permanent solution to this challenge,” said Ramatlakane.

Ramatlakane called on commuters to expose those involved in the vandalism, saying the committee believed “criminal elements” and not aggrieved commuters were responsible for the damage.

“These people should be arrested. Commuters must flush out the criminals. They must not act under the guise of being commuters. This is no ordinary crime. It is clear it was carried out by people who understand the system,” he said.

Ramatlakane said Metrorail would brief the committee once an investigation into the chaos had been completed.

Damage to the station and trains was expected to run into millions of rand.