Three suspects aged between 41 and 51 were nailed in the afternoon of Tuesday, 19 September 2023 around 16h00 on the N4 Road in Middleburg policing precinct after being cornered with a truck transporting reportedly stolen railway track valued at about R3 million.

Police in the Province are working hard to address the challenge of damage to essential infrastructure as well as theft of valuable railway items. The Mpumalanga Provincial Anti-Gang Unit of the Police was tasked with the responsibility to help curb this challenge. As a result of the determination by the team, working in collaboration with members of the public and in this case Middleburg Highway Patrol members played a role as well which led to a breakthrough that was achieved.

According to information, the railway track was stolen somewhere at Barberton in the Ehlanzeni District last month (August 2023). A case was opened and the investigation was handed over to the said team, with a hope to arrest perpetrators thereof and recovery of the reportedly stolen items.

After an investigation was conducted, investigators gathered valuable information about the case then began some follow ups which led to the trailing of the said truck which was possibly transporting the suspected stolen railway track to a certain destination yet to be disclosed. The exercise was not futile but led to the truck being spotted and stopped. This was followed by a search and subsequent discovery of huge amount of railway track inside the truck. That was the period when the three men were arrested.

The truck with its consignment and other items were confiscated for further investigation.

The trio was charged for possession of suspected stolen properties, with reference to the railway track. The suspects could have also been involved in the theft with regard to the stealing of railway truck in Ehlanzeni District. Police are working in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs after learning that all three suspects are foreign nationals but two were found without valid documentation to be in South Africa. These two are Mozambican nationals whilst the third one with documentation is a Zimbabwean national. The two will be charged for contravention of the immigration Act of South Africa.

The suspects are expected to appear at the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 21 September 2023 facing the said charges.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has hailed this major breakthrough. “We are elated by this great achievement. We are adamant that the suspects may have been involved in other similar offences committed previously as our investigation team continues to probe. The damage to essential infrastructure is a thorn in the flesh but we are doing our best to address this, hence the arrest” said the General.