Between April 2019 and January 2020, 354 227 m of overhead cables on rail lines had been stolen.
State-owned freight utility Transnet and its Transnet Freight Rail subsidiary say the theft of overhead cables on rail lines has reached unprecedented levels, with, on average, 21 trains being cancelled a day as a result.
The utility adds that the direct cost to company to replace cables amounts to more than R150-million a year.
However, the consequence of cable theft is not limited to financial losses, but also results in consignments not reaching their destinations on time and often human disaster and tragedy as well.
Transnet manages more than 30 000 km of rail track and operates about 700 trains a day.
The utility says each cable theft incident necessitates re-planning and re-allocation of resources that lead to delays in delivery of consignment.
Transnet assures that it is working hard with law enforcement agencies to curb cable theft.