The South African Police Service (SAPS) raided the premises of a scrap metal dealer in Devland, near Johannesburg, and found a large cache of stolen copper cables.
Working on a tip-off, the police officers searched a property and discovered copper cables belonging to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Eskom and City Power.
TFR has thanked the SAPS for this important breakthrough.
It adds that it would, ultimately, like to see stringent regulation of scrap metal dealing and the full might of the law being applied to those found guilty of such acts.
"While this is another victory in the fight against crime, TFR continues to be plagued by highly organised cable theft syndicates. Some 395 km of cable was stolen in 2019/20, 700 km in 2020/21 and more than 1 000 km in the financial year ending 2022.
"The net financial impact of security incidents to Transnet over the last financial year was R3.9-billion, which includes operational disruption, security costs and remediation. Over the past three years, TFR has recorded more than 1 200 suspects arrested, appearing in over 580 court cases, owing to court role backlogs," TFR points out.
Given a network of some 30 000 track kilometres, it is virtually impossible for TFR to guard the entire system and it appeals to the general public to assist in the fight against this scourge. The public is encouraged to contact the crime-stop hotline 08600 10111 to report any suspicious activities near and around the rail network.