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Johannesburg - Sixteen people have been arrested for stealing electrical cables at an underground mining shaft in Thabazimbi, Limpopo police said on Sunday.
“Besides the arrests, police managed to confiscate two vans and rolls of copper cable with a street value of more than R500,000,” said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
Police went to the Amandelbult mining shaft on Saturday morning after receiving information about a cable theft syndicate, he said.
“The syndicate of more than 26 people would spend a week underground, cutting copper cables and stashing them at a secret hideout.”
The other syndicate members escaped. Some were thought to still be underground.
Mulaudzi said those arrested would appear in the Thabazimbi Magistrate's Court on Monday.
On Friday, police arrested four people and seized stolen copper cable worth more than R250 000 in raids on five scrap metal businesses in Tzaneen.
On the same day, Vodacom employees discovered a network shutdown at Tinmyne.
Police went to the cellphone tower in the area where they found a van containing stolen copper cable worth R260 000. - Sapa