Two suspects were arrested after a police raid on a scrapyard found R10 million worth of aluminium suspected to have been stolen from a railyard in North West.
Police arrested a man who had the aluminium cables on the back of his bakkie as well as the owner of the scrapyard.
Police raid scrapyard
Prasa technicians identified the cables as being the stolen property of the passenger rail service prior to the men being taken into custody.
The owner of the scrapyard was charged with failure to keep a proper register of second-hand goods
South African Police Services spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said: "In a bid to combat the trade in stolen goods, police in Mmakau arrested on Monday, 1 June 2020, two suspects aged 31 and 61 for possession of suspected stolen property, tampering with essential infrastructure and contravention of Section 21 (failure to keep a register) of the Second-Hand Goods Act, 2009 (Act No. 6 of 2009).
"The pair were arrested after the police acted swiftly on information received from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) Security Services about suspected illegal activity taking place at a scrap metal business in Mmakau village.
"On arrival at the scrapyard, aluminium cables were found loaded on a bakkie.
"The operation also led to discovery of more aluminium cables inside a building.
"Consequently, the police arrested the driver of the bakkie and the owner of the scrapyard, after identification of the cables by PRASA technicians. The total value of the cables is estimated at R10 million."
The suspects are expected to appear in the Brits Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 3 June.
The Provincial Commissioner of North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena commended the members and security officers for a sterling job and cooperation which resulted in the success.
Police raid scrapyard finding cables suspected to have been stolen from Prasa. Photo: Supplied.
SAPS tasked with defending infrastructure
Lieutenant General Kwena cautioned that the SAPS members will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those who tamper with essential infrastructure are dealt with harshly.
The General also made an appeal to members of the community to be the eyes and ears of the police and to report at their nearest police stations those who tamper with and steal essential infrastructure such as copper and aluminium cables.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced at the end of May that Prasa would not resume services at level 3 of lockdown, citing extensive vandalism as one of the reasons the ailing state-owned rail company will not resume operations until at least July.