Punish cable thieves, union says

2012-05-22 21:02

Pretoria - Cable thieves should be severely punished, the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) said on Tuesday.

It lauded the recovery on Monday of more than R1m worth of stolen metals, which included railway tracks and power cables, by the Hawks in Chloorkop, near Kempton Park.

"Half of the job has been done. Now it is up to the justice system to put South Africa first and give to those found guilty stiff sentences," said Utata deputy general secretary Eddie de Klerk.

"That will make all the other scrap metal dealers who are encouraging cable and railway track thieves to think twice before continuing with their crimes," he said.

Two people were arrested for allegedly being in possession of stolen copper cables and railway sleepers.

A third man was arrested for possession of power cables. He was approaching a scrap dealership, only to find Hawks detectives on the property.

De Klerk said the arrest was "reassuring for rail workers" who suffered the consequences of signalling defects and derailments caused by the theft of accessories.

"Only when enough of those criminals are behind bars for long stretches will rail safety and the economy return to some form of normality," he said.

The arrest of three suspected cable thieves was also welcomed by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) and Metrorail on Tuesday.

"We call on law enforcement agencies to redouble their efforts in bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to book," RSR spokesperson Sibongiseni Henna said in a statement.

Metrorail also called for heavy penalties to be handed down to those vandalising trains and stealing cables.

- SAPA
Read more on:    metrorail  |  johannesburg  |  cable theft
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