South Africa: Metal thieves 'steal 10km of railway'

JOHANNESBURG - Metal thieves in South Africa have stolen nearly 10km (6 miles) of working railway track, causing about $2.3m (£1.3m) of damage, it's emerged.

Chunks of track were stolen over the course of several months from a line used to take trains from Johannesburg to a depot in the town of Nigel, The Star newspaper reports. Five men have appeared in court after being "caught in the act" by the security guards who patrol the track, the paper says.

"They're experts. They're not making mistakes," says Thumbu Mahlangu, a member of the local transport committee. Rail spokesman Mike Asefovitz agrees: "These aren't the little guys. To take this kind of weight and to cut it up you need specialised machinery." The stolen rails are reportedly worth about $120,000 on the scrap metal market.

The theft has left 34 brand new train cars stuck at the maintenance plant just as they were due to be put into use, and the depot now fears for its future with about 700 jobs potentially at risk. In South Africa, metal theft is a serious problem costing the economy hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

    Comments (4)

    Born to suffer! Why subject your own people to such cruelty? The USD2.3M used to replace the stolen track would be diverted from elsewhere...it means some poor children will be denied an education, healthcare etc. The South Africans need to outsource prison services to Chikurubi.

    Galore 123 - 16 July 2014

    Check your facts before publishing falsehoods. Only 5kms of railway line were stolen, I wonder where you get 10kms from

    reggie - 17 July 2014

    Plenty of that material here, advise the guys.

    Mukanya - 21 July 2014

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