South Africa News

Man arrested after allegedly stealing railway track in Soweto

A Soweto man has been arrested in connection with a stolen railway track.

Joint efforts by law enforcement agencies led to the man’s arrest on Thursday during search and seizure operations in Kliptown, Soweto as part of the Okae Molao Operations.

During the operation, about 1.3 metres railway track was found inside a shack at Angola Squatter Camp in Nancefield, Soweto.

The operation forms part of the Integrated Security Plan, which was launched by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, at Rhodesfields station in October 2020.

The plan is intelligence-driven, aimed at combatting rail and community crimes and ensuring that criminals are brought to book.

The joint operation includes Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) Protection Service and Armed Response Unit.

Vandalism and theft of rail infrastructure have come at a huge cost to commuters who rely on the rail passenger service.

“Theft and vandalism of rail infrastructure are considered economic sabotage, and PRASA will not tolerate any sabotage of its rail infrastructure,” said the state-owned enterprise in a statement.

Prasa lost R364 million due to vandalism and sabotage of its infrastructure and trains in 2020.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has assured the public that “billions of rands in investments” will be made in order to restore Prasa and its broken railway systems.

He said more train stations and lines will be rehabilitated across Gauteng.

National Treasury approved an amount of R900 million last week for Prasa’s immediate security provisions.

“The committee noted Prasa’s security plans to use a combination of technology and human resources to safeguard and protect infrastructure,” said Mbalula.

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