Hawks issue stern warning to scrap metal recyclers

Hawks issue stern warning to scrap metal recyclers

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GK CRONJE

7 September 2021

While the prospect of a quick profit may be alluring, the risk is not worth the reward, as you will be investigated, arrested and charged accordingly.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation(Hawks) in Mpumalanga have arrested 16 people for damaging and stealing Transnet infrastructure, including railway tracks and transformers. “Suspects aged between 35 and 45 were arrested by members of the Hawks' serious organized crime investigation in Middelburg, together with Transnet investigators during an intelligence-driven operation,” said Hawks spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi. “The team followed up the information and found four trucks inside Mashcor Scrap metal dealer, still loaded with railway tracks,” said Sekgotodi. “During further investigation, the fifth truck loaded with transformers and palisade fencing, which was positively identified by Transnet officials, arrived.

The railway tracks were stolen from the decommissioned line, while the transformers and palisade were stolen from the working substation. Sekgotodi stated that of the 16 people arrested, 14 of them are foreign nationals. They were duly charged for possession of suspected stolen property, theft and damaging of essential infrastructure. The owner of the scrap metal institution was traced, and also arrested. The Hawks have issued a stern warning to scrap metal recyclers in Mpumalanga, especially the Middelburg, Witbank, Secunda, Ermelo and Standerton areas, to be vigilant when accepting scrap metal, and not to become involved in dodgy dealings and illicit operations. There is a high rate of theft and vandalism of Transnet, Eskom and mining operation infrastructure, and recyclable metals are often the target of these criminals. While the prospect of a quick profit may be alluring, the risk is not worth the reward, as you will be investigated, arrested and charged accordingly.