Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) reports that more than 169 suspects were arrested between August and October for cable theft.
It attributed this success to the joint efforts of TFR and other rail industry stakeholders, as well as law enforcement agencies and customers.
The theft of overhead cables on TFR's rail lines has "reached unprecedented levels in the last year", TFR says.
It adds that it is exploring other ways of stepping up the war against theft, vandalism and sabotage of railway infrastructure and equipment.
"Improvement actions and technology innovations are being deployed to curb and/or deter the criminal activities on South Africa’s railway networks, like improving the security of wagons in transit to limit access to cargo in transit and investment in technology to ensure that incidents such as copper theft are eradicated, particularly on the Natal Corridor and Central Corridor, among other improvement actions."