File photo: African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - Metrorail has welcomed the arrest of more than 100 suspects in relation to a number of charges including possession of drugs and vandalism.

"Seventy three offenders in the rail network met their match during the first week of June 2018. The largest haul of arrests (sixty) was made on Thursday during a joint operation conducted by Metrorail Protection Services, Transnet Freight Rail Security and Woodstock SAPS," the commuter rail operator said on Friday.  

"The twenty three females and thirty seven males arrested yesterday are due to appear in court on Monday 11 June 2018 for infringements ranging from possession of drugs, dealing in drugs and trespassing. The team confiscated aluminium rail components, train doors and copper cabling as well as dagga and mandrax tablets.

"Earlier in the week thirteen people were arrested in Newlands, Belhar, Maitland and Pentech respectively for cable theft/theft/vandalism. Most offenders are being charged in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act.

"PRASA successfully opposed bail on many applications and there are more than one hundred offenders currently awaiting trial. The first successful conviction and 15 year jail sentence of Fortune Nkomo yesterday in a Cape Town Court has paved the way for more cable thieves to meet similar justice.

"A multi-functional team comprising officials from Metrorail Protection Services, the Rapid Rail Response Unit and security contractors continue to crack down on cable thieves whose actions impacts adversely on Metrorail’s ability to operate a reliable service. Walker said the team, will continue to target opportunistic thieves, petty criminals and organised crime syndicates, illegal/established/ licenced scrap dealers who continue to accept stolen goods," Metrorail said.

Regional manager Richard Walker paid tribute to the tenacity of the teams.

"Each week produces a tranche of arrests and these teams work 24/7 to produce results, often at the expense of family and leisure time – their dedication and focus is commendable," he said. 

Walker thanked communities for reporting criminal activity. 

"We have seen a dramatic increase in tip-offs and most of these contribute to arrests. Ultimately we want to rid an essential transport system of criminals," Walker said. 

Metrorail also reminded commuters that rewards of up to R25 000 are payable for information leading to successful convictions. 

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