Metal thieves ‘steal 10km of railway’
16 July 2014, 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. http://nehandaradio.com/2014/07/16/metal-thieves-steal-10km-railway/

Stolen track could cost R25m to replace

17 July 2014, The Ekurhuleni municipality will replace several kilometres of stolen Nigel railway track that could cost up to R25 million to rebuild. As five men were expected to apply for bail in connection with the theft on Thursday, the financial effect could also threaten hundreds of jobs and force a repair depot – which repairs Metrorail carriages – to close its doors.

rail theft

A meeting was held on Monday between the municipality, rail authorities, police and the repair depot to discuss how to fix the problem, after it emerged last week that up to 10km of railway line had been stolen by what appeared to be a highly professional gang of thieves. http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/stolen-track-could-cost-r25m-to-replace-1.1719941


Metal thieves almost leave city in the dark

25 Jan 2013, Durban – A crisis caused by metal thieves, which would have plunged Pietermaritzburg into darkness, was averted yesterday by municipal officials and Eskom, but the damage will cost R1 million to repair.

pylon 1

The main power supply pylon to Pietermaritzburg, in Camps Drift, was tilting and, had it fallen, it would have taken days to restore the electricity supply.

Msunduzi spokesman Brian Zuma said the supporting steel bars which kept the pylon upright had been unbolted and stolen.

“Whoever was involved planned this carefully. They obviously brought along all the necessary equipment to remove the supporting crossing,” he said.

Employees of the electricity department noticed the pylon was tilting on Thursday. At first sight they thought heavy winds were to blame, but, on closer inspection, they saw the supporting structures were gone.

“We don’t know when this happened or if the thieves stole all the steel at once or came at different times,” he said.

He said the municipality had to deal with this kind of problem regularly.

“People don’t just steal electricity, they steal copper and all forms of metal which can be sold.

This is costing the municipality hundreds of thousands of rands,” he said.

As a result of ongoing copper theft in the city, certain suburbs were often without power.

The head of the electricity department, Sabatha Nomnganga, said that fixing the problem was a huge project which would cost about R1m.

“It will entail having to switch off electricity for short periods,” he said.

Eskom has undertaken to work at weekends to fix the problem.

A temporary structure has been put up to prevent the pylon from falling.

Zuma said the department and Eskom would exchange ideas on how to prevent this type of theft from taking place in future.

Vandalism for scrap metal was a widespread problem.

In Durban in June last year the M4 pedestrian walkway and concrete barrier along the uMngeni River bridge collapsed when thieves stole the stainless steel shackles that connected the supporting beams of the structure. http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/metal-thieves-almost-leave-city-in-the-dark-1.1458785


Collapsed pylons cause mass power outages

6 June 2014, JOHANNESBURG – City Power technicians are working to repair damaged pylons in Lenasia, with power outages experienced in a number of Gauteng suburbs.

pylon 2

Lenasia residents have been warned they may be without electricity until Saturday afternoon.

City Power’s Louis Pieterse says cross members of pylons were stolen, causing the bolts to loosen at the base of a pylon, resulting in the collapse of one of them.

“The next pylon on the circuit also collapsed as a result of the strain.”

There are reports of several outages in many areas, including Eldorado Park, Freedom Park, Craighall Park, the Johannesburg CBD, as well as parts of Pretoria.

pylon 3

At the same time, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is also working to restore power in the Springs CBD and industrial areas, which have been without power since the early hours of this morning.

Steel and cable theft has been identified as the cause of the power outages on the East Rand.

pylon 4

Officials have not specified when power will be restored in the affected suburbs. http://ewn.co.za/2014/06/06/JHB-power-outages-City-Power-repairing-pylons


Soweto death toll could rise

26 June 2014, A group believed to be part of a gang of cable thieves were stripping the abandoned building in Power Park when it caved in.

metal building materials

Police are investigating the claim and may charge those rescued with cable theft.

It’s understood the owners of the building in Power Park opened a case with the police.

The police are trying to establish the identity of a fifth person whose body was found at a collapsed building in Soweto.

Police say a fifth body was recovered  by security guards who were patrolling the premises. http://ewn.co.za/2014/07/13/Building-collapse-Fifth-body-yet-to-be-identified