Four men and a teenager, all Mozambican nationals, are currently facing charges of damaging essential infrastructure in South Africa.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as Hawks, in Mpumalanga, reported that the five accused were apprehended while in the act of stealing Transnet’s overhead cables in Delmas.
The individuals, identified as Joshua Mavia Mapendani, Sizwe Rinze Masasane, Themba Swele, Lino Matchave, and a 14-year-old whose name has been withheld due to being a minor, were caught red-handed by members of the Hawks serious organized crime investigation unit based in Middelburg.
The operation was initiated after Transnet provided information about a group of suspects planning to steal their cables.
During the operation, the law enforcement team discovered the five foreign nationals actively cutting the Transnet overhead cables.
They were subsequently arrested, and several exhibits were seized for further investigation. The seized items include overhead cables valued at R3 million, a bolt cutter, and an Isuzu bakkie valued at R150,000.
The five accused are currently undergoing a bail application process after being remanded in custody by the Delmas Magistrate’s Court. The charges brought against them include damaging essential infrastructure and contravening the Immigration Act.
Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, the spokesperson for the Hawks in Mpumalanga, confirmed the details of the arrest and highlighted the importance of tackling crimes against essential infrastructure. She emphasized, “The suspects were caught in the act of damaging essential infrastructure, which poses significant risks to public safety and disrupts crucial services.”
“It is alleged that on Sunday, September, 10, 2023, at about 2pm, members of the Hawks serious organised crime investigation unit based in Middelburg were contacted by Transnet with information regarding a group of suspects who were planning to steal Transnet overhead cables in Delmas,” she said.