State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) says it concluded the repair work on its North Corridor in a record time of 15 hours on September 7.
Earlier in the day, TFR issued a media statement saying it would take 18 hours to repair the damage it suffered owing to cable theft on the night of September 6. The incident took place on the Mswaneni bypass between Vryheid and Ulundi.
At the time of the media statement, TFR had already, at 05:18, concluded repair work on its line at Mkhondo, which had also suffered a cable theft incident the previous night, the entity points out.
It notes that, at Mswaneni, the theft was extensive and included theft of five spans of catenary wire, the vandalism of five spans of contact wire and damage to five spans of steel work.
TFR had to close the line to clear the load on the track and repair the line.
As reported by Engineering News, the North Corridor, which runs from Lephalale in Limpopo, through Gauteng and Mpumalanga, to Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, accounts for over 40% of the volume transported by TFR, including commodities such as export coal.
“TFR has seen a huge spike in cable theft incidents over the past few years that have escalated in revenue losses and repair costs. Together with its partners including law enforcement agencies, TFR is working hard to find solutions to mitigate the scourge,” TFR says.
TFR is part of the Economic Sabotage of Critical Infrastructure Forum, which is led by the CEOs of various State-owned entities (SOEs), including Eskom, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and Telkom.
The forum seeks to ensure a coordinated response to the theft and vandalism of critical infrastructure that affects all of the SOEs.