Zama zamas to blame for railway theft

The six men arrested in New Canada with Passenger Rail Agency of SA's (Prasa) copper cables and signalling equipment worth R5 million are suspected to be illegal miners as they were found in possession of mining equipment used in the illegal trade. According to the spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa, this has led them to believe illegal miners have turned their attention to pillaging rail infrastructure. "We have reason to believe the suspects are players in illegal mining. Now the zama zamas have moved from that, for whatever reason, to now harvesting public infrastructure…" he said. Mgitywa last week told the SABC...
The six men arrested in New Canada with Passenger Rail Agency of SA's (Prasa) copper cables and signalling equipment worth R5 million are suspected to be illegal miners as they were found in possession of mining equipment used in the illegal trade.

According to the spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa, this has led them to believe illegal miners have turned their attention to pillaging rail infrastructure.

"We have reason to believe the suspects are players in illegal mining. Now the zama zamas have moved from that, for whatever reason, to now harvesting public infrastructure…" he said.

Mgitywa last week told the SABC that they have also observed a foreign element to the crime, saying this was because their copper cables were smelted, taken out into a neighbouring country and then shipped to India and other countries.

Mgitywa said they were pleased with arrests, adding that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula would unveil more measures to curb/\r\n/
the destruction of the rail infrastructure this week.

He said in another case, which involved two suspects, a former and a current Prasa employee, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) was convinced to enrol their matter as a Schedule 5 offence, making it difficult for them to get bail.

The pillaging is not limited to the rail infrastructure. All public amenities – clinics, hospitals, libraries, stadiums, parks and water supply – are targets.

Many public amenities have been reduced to rubble, with historic sites and memorials left in ruins as citizens and authorities turn a blind eye.

Thieves and vandals who have broken down parts of the palisade fencing of the Ga-Mothakga Resort, home to the SS Mendi memorial in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, used the quietness of the Covid-19 lockdown to strip the facility's newly built chalets.

SS Mendi memorial pays tribute to the 616 South African soldiers and 30 British crew members who died aboard the military steamship, the SS Mendi, which sank in the English Channel in February 1917.

And, completed in 2017, the R44.3 million Zithobeni Stadium near Bronkhorstspruit is now in ruins.

siphom@citizen.co.za

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