Police crackdown on multi-million rand copper cable syndicate at Durban Harbour

Investigations are continuing after copper to the estimated street value of R4, 3 million was recovered at the Durban Harbour, yesterday.

Although no arrests have been made, this is an impressive achievement for the DPCI Hawks, who have swooped in on a major syndicate. According to police reports, the syndicate, which operates from West Rand in Johannesburg, steals and exports stolen copper cables to other countries outside South Africa. Police spokesman, Maj Thulani Zwane said that the copper, which was tracked down from Johannesburg, was seized upon arrival at the container yard of the Durban Harbour.

“According to the DPCI Hawks, the syndicate, which operates under a company name in Gauteng, was partaking in the stealing and selling of burnt copper cables from different areas in Gauteng and Mpumalanga, respectively. The stolen loot would then be put into containers and transported via freight train directly to the harbour where it would then head to India on cargo ships, all the while avoiding the prying eyes of the police. This particular investigation into the high-profile syndicate started in Krugersdorp, last year in July. Information was gathered from the Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Free State provinces leading up to the bust on the February 19, 2015. Transnet, Eskom and Telkom representatives were on hand to identify and point out stolen copper cable as belonging to their companies,” said Maj Zwane.

The DPCI Hawks, Customs, SARS, Transnet, Eskom, Telkom, Durban LCRC and the CPI (Combined Private Investigators), a unit specifically contracted by Transnet, Eskom and Telkom, to investigate the theft and selling of copper illegally in South Africa, were all on hand to execute the raid at the harbour. The recovered copper weighed a staggering 25 tons and is worth an estimated street value of R4, 3 million. Zwane added, “The replacement value for the companies who have lost out on these cables is going to cost them a mammoth R40 million. No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.”

Provincial commissioner of KZN, Lt Gen Mmamonnye Ngobeni praised the officers. She said, “We appeal to the community to work together with the police by supplying valuable information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects.”

READ MORE: Stolen copper cables worth R1, 8 million recovered, suspects arrested in Chatsworth


Elaine Naidoo
Digital Editor

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