On Wednesday afternoon, SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE filmed a man on top of an overhead mast in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town. In broad daylight, he was disassembling the remnants of infrastructure left along Cape Town’s Central train line which services millions of people in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Nyanga.
Law-enforcement personnel arrived on scene and arrested four men.
Theft of Metrorail cables, metal and infrastructure has led to a complete shutdown of the Central line since November 2019.
There were no overhead electrification cables left along the line where the man was attempting to carry out the theft. Train masts lay across the tracks, pulled down and waiting to be cut up and shipped off to be weighed at illicit “bucket shops”, where thieves get paid per kilogram.
Cape Town Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said, “As you’ve observed today, the Bonteheuwel-Netreg-Nyanga area is unfortunately prone to crime and recurring vandalism, which has led to the total destruction of rail infrastructure required to operate trains safely.”