Eleven train cable theft convictions in one week

Cape Regional Courts were busy last week, producing no less than 11 convictions for transgressors of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act.

On Monday 19 August Adnaan Davids was found guilty in Wynberg regional court C on a charge of damage to essential infrastructure and received a sentence of 10 years (five of which are suspended for five years) in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act (CMAA).

The items stolen by Davids were 15m of 12-core relay signal cable to the value of R23 265.66.

Salie Abrahams too was found guilty of theft of 4m 27-core signal cable, 1m of 3-core electrical cable, half a metre of 37-core signal cable and 4m of 16-core signal cable to the value of R30 921.34.

Both remained in custody since their arrest.

Lincolin Gareth and Vincent Goliath failed to enter a plea deal in Wynberg regional court F and were both sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment (of which one year is suspended for 11 years).

They will effectively serve 11 years each. Both have been in custody since their arrest on June 2018.

On Tuesday 20 August, Walleed Henderson and Ziyamodien Abrahams appeared in Wynberg regional court D on charges of damage to essential infrastructure (theft of 2m of 37-core signal cable – value R5 635.48).

Their case was placed back on the court roll after charges laid against the pair in 2017 had to be withdrawn.

This time both were slapped with a 10-year jail sentence (of which five is suspended for five years on condition they are not found guilty again on the same offence within the period of suspension).

The same court found Xolisani Siyokwana guilty on a charge of theft of 1m 12-core signal cable and 1m 4-core signal cable (value R781.02) he too received a 10-year sentence with five years suspended for five years.

In Wynberg regional court, D Nazeem Moos, Ronaldo Jacobs and Lorenzo Jacobs’ plea deals were accepted for attempted theft of essential infrastructure. All three received 10-year sentences (five of which were suspended for five years) – they will effectively serve five years each.

In the Blue Downs court, Beauton Jansen was found guilty on similar charges and also received a sentence of 10 years (five of which suspended for five years).

All of those convicted were also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Metrorail’s regional manager Richard Walker says prevailing poor socio-economic conditions contribute to never-ending opportunities for vandalism: “The pace of devastation is relentless as an endless supply of would-be criminals step into the void left by arrests and convictions.”

He commended the regional teams for excellent work under extremely difficult circumstances: “Our protection services teams, the police and security contractors fight overwhelming odds while our technical repair teams brave the elements at all hours to ensure that trains operate the next day.”

He said these sentences illustrated the real tragedy of crime, driven by drug dependency and lack of opportunities.

“Three convictions for attempted theft and trading 22 years of freedom and a criminal record for life for stolen goods valued at R2 000 shows the level of desperation.”

He cautioned the public to be alert to shifting crime trends: “Our investigating teams have noticed that crime is spatially displaced as soon as law enforcement clamps down on a particular hotspot. This is evidenced by fresh attacks elsewhere on the rail network as soon as hot spots are successfully controlled.”

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