‘Hands off’ railway infrastructure

2018-10-08 15:03

Manenberg police are warning the public against stealing railway infrastructure.

The warning comes after the sentencing of two men who received a lengthy sentence for damaging and stealing from Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) railway infrastructure in Heideveld.

Abraham Isgak Terblanche and Gavin Abrahams heard their verdict at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday, and will spend 15 years in prison for the theft of non-ferrous metals and another 15 years for the damage of railway infrastructure.

The two perpetrators form part of a group of 11 men who were arrested earlier this year after being caught red-handed while attempting to steal overhead cables close to Heideveld Railway Station.

“The suspects’ arrest also comes after continuous investigations done by Detective Sergeant Daryl van Noie to track down those responsible for damages at several Prasa infrastructures,” explains Captain Ian Bennett, spokesperson for Manenberg Police Station.

“Terblanche was the first suspect to be arrested, along with 10 other men (aged between 20 and 37), for the possession and theft of the essential railway infrastructure and is one of several members from the copper cable theft syndicate that was successfully prosecuted.”

The suspects were all linked to smaller groupings that are known to cause damage to the infrastructure, crippling the railway transport system and causing thousand of rand worth of damages.

“The destruction of the railway system hampers the transport industry. Many people are left without safe transport, leaving them vulnerable, in a position to be robbed of their personal belongings or even murdered for unrelated crimes, during this time.

“It is illegal to steal and destroy the transport infrastructure and it also puts people’s lives at risk. Young children could be electrocuted by live wires lying around next to fences where they play, as these criminals take their loot and run off.

“To add, Terblanche was caught in the act, trying to cut cables at the railway station. While cutting the high-voltage cables he (Terblanche) actually suffered burns after being shocked by the high voltage.”

Bennett urged the community to report any destruction of Prasa infrastructure in their communities and to avoid participating in the illegal activity for the safety of their own lives and that of others.

To report similar crimes call Manenberg Police Station on 021 699 9400.



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