The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, joined the community of Ratanda in Heidelberg, visiting a house that was used as a melting factory for Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) cables. The Minister commended the operations by PRASA and SAPS that led to successful arrest of cable criminals.
Following a tip-off, SAPS and PRASA led a successful arrest of two suspects at a melting house in Ratanda, Heildelberg. One of the suspects is allegedly an employee of the PRASA. The suspects were caught in action, melting over the rail train cables, and other components at their cash for scrap illegal operation.
Almost R1billion has been lost due to either train burnings, vandalism of power stations, public disorder, train collisions or floods at the PRASA. These costs peaked in 2019 at R364million. Minister Mbalula condemns these as acts of cowardice by criminals who are hell-bent at crippling a commuter rail service that is critical for South Africa’s economy.
“We must work with our colleagues in the criminal justice system to characterise the burning of trains and cable theft as economic sabotage. We warn our people against these and other crimes and urge communities to take ownership of their government services and lead efforts to protect them. The tip-off could not be a better example of this. The arrested criminal suspects must be made example of and account for their crimes. Working with PRASA we will intensify our efforts to end these crimes,” Minister Mbalula said.