State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) on September 8 undertook a joint operation in response to the spike in incidents of theft of ferrochrome being transported from mines in Mpumalanga to the coast for export.
"TFR has recently witnessed a phenomenon where trains that are in motion are blocked with objects on the track. These incidents take place close to informal settlements around the railway track.
"The joint operation by the police and TFR security teams as a response to the ferrochrome theft spike was intelligence-driven and involved raids to specific houses located in the informal settlements," the rail operator states.
It adds that at least 19 people were arrested, with stolen goods recovered from two facilities.
"TFR takes a zero tolerance approach to the theft of commodities destined for the export market as this sets back the drive for our economy to recover after the Covid epidemic. We cannot tolerate these incidents and hope that the criminal justice system will show no mercy to such economic crimes, irrespective of who the perpetrator is.
"TFR would like to commend the Mpumalanga SAPS, the in-house and private security service providers of both TFR and the impacted customers for their dedication and swift action to deal with this crime as a united force," it comments.