File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Alleged Putco bus ticket thieves in Mpumalanga released on bail

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Aug 13, 2021

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Pretoria – Two people accused of being part of a Mpumalanga syndicate stealing blank Putco bus tickets, printing them and reselling them have appeared in court.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said the duo was arrested for involvement in a syndicate that distributed stolen tickets of the Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) in Mpumalanga.

“Mpho Mdaka, aged 33, and Mandla Shabangu, aged 51, appeared in the KwaMhlanga Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 12 August 2021 for allegations of theft of Putco bus tickets after they were arrested by members of the Hawks serious organised crime investigation team during a disruptive operation at KwaMhlanga on Wednesday,” said Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi.

’’It is alleged that at about 10am on Wednesday, members of the (Hawks) Middelburg serious organised crime investigation team conducted an intelligence driven operation on suspects identified for stealing blank Putco bus tickets from Spar in Kwamhlanga.”

Sekgotodi said the syndicate would print the stolen blank tickets “and distribute them to unsuspecting passengers”.

“The unlawful activities of the two arrested suspects have been linked to other syndicates previously arrested for the same crime in the area between March and May 2021,” she said.

The duo was released on R1 000 bail each and the case was postponed to September 6 for further investigation.

Last year, Putco was reportedly losing an average of 60 bus batteries per month in the Mpumalanga and Soweto areas of operation.

A Putco statement quoted by Mpumalanga News said some of the batteries were snatched while buses were loading, in full view of passengers.

“It is disturbing that some of these incidents happen while the operation is in full service, sometimes during the day and in full view of passers-by and passengers.

’’The bus air pressure system pipes are cut during the loading and offloading of passengers at bus stops, causing the bus to suffer a breakdown and not be able to complete the journey.

“These brazen acts negatively affect the quality of service we offer to our passengers and cause undue inconvenience to passengers who rely on our buses to commute to work and on time,” the bus company said at the time.

African News Agency (ANA)

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