PRETORIA – A joint operational plan to address theft and damage to essential infrastructure in the rail environment continues to yield positive results. In the latest breakthrough to curb such criminal activity, copper cables worth a market value of R900 000 were seized.
The team comprising of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), Transnet and Bidvest Security followed up on crime intelligence led information about illegal activities taking place at the Boschmanspoort Mine. Upon arrival at the scene of crime, the team pounced on the group of illegal miners who began shooting towards the team. The team returned fire and upon further investigation, found copper cables weighing 600kg.
The cables have been seized and the case has been taken over by organized crime where the hunt for the illegal miners is still underway.
In another incident, copper cables with a market value worth R38 000 and a vehicle suspected to be used in the commission of the crime has been seized in the Laanglagte policing precinct. One man has been arrested and will appear in court on Monday.
In Kuilsriver in Cape Town, the SAPS managed to recover signal cable with a market value of R20 000 and three men aged 18, 32 and a 62-year-old man were arrested. The trio will appear before the Kuilsrivier Magistrates Court on Monday.
All suspects arrested have been charged with destruction and theft of essential infrastructure and being in possession of suspected stolen goods.
The continuous damage and theft of infrastructure within the rail environment has far reaching consequences to the Grand Economic Strategy of this country. While the value of the actual property damaged or stolen may run into 10s of thousands of rands, the impact of this on the other hand runs into hundreds of millions of rands. The lives of our people are actually brought to a standstill as many millions of people rely on the rail environment to travel to and from their places of work. This is a situation we as a country cannot afford to continue given that we are all trying to rebuild the economy from devastation of the Covid-19 we are currently experiencing.
Police are appealing to communities to come forward with information that may assist in putting a stop to such criminality. Members of the public are encouraged to call the crime stop hotline number on 086 00 10111 or download the MySAPS App. The public is reminded that they may remain anonymous and that all information will be treated with confidentiality.
Source: South African Police Service