Police have recovered more than 180 tons of stolen train tracks worth R8m in Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker members of the Provincial Non-Ferrous Task Team received intelligence of stolen Transnet infrastructure at a scrapyard on South Coast Road in Maydon Wharf on Thursday.
“The team immediately sprang into action and began investigations into the source of the stolen metal. During the night, the team began following up on leads with regards to the stolen railway tracks and railway sleepers.
“On Friday morning, the team was joined by officials from Transnet, Prasa, and Telkom. They proceeded to the identified bulk metal scrapyard and discovered tons of railway lines and railway sleepers on the site,” Naicker said.
The Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) released footage of two Gauteng train stations that have been closed, with services suspended due to vandalism in December 2019.
“The items were positively identified by a representative of Transnet as belonging to them. Staff at the premises were questioned with regards to the property and they produced documentation which indicated that the items were authorized for sale by Prasa. The letter was sent to the Prasa head office for verification and it was established that the letter was fraudulent.”
Police seized 181 tons of Transnet infrastructure. The items have an estimated value of R8m.
Further investigation led police to the owners of the scrapyard in Greytown. Investigations revealed that the railway lines were removed from Greytown and two suspects aged 31 and 59 were arrested.
They will appear in the Greytown Magistrate’s Court on Monday for tampering with essential infrastructure.
KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula applauded the Provincial Non-Ferrous Task Team for the arrest of the suspects and the recovery of the stolen property.
“The theft of railway lines is of great concern as it has serious implications for our transport infrastructure. Members of the Provincial Non-Ferrous Task Team must be commended for the recent arrests across the province where thieves have been nabbed for stealing electricity cables and other essential infrastructure,” he said.