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Government working on a new law that will see scrap metal dealers jailed for 15 years, says Mbalula

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Supplied

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a ban on the trade of scrap metal, saying theft and vandalism of critical rail infrastructure sabotage SA’s economy.

Mbalula made the call during a briefing on the recently approved National Rail Policy White Paper.

He said trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel is working on a law that will see scrap metal dealers jailed for 15 years.

“Scrap metal must be banned. The minister of trade and industry is working on a law to do this. Together with the public enterprises department, we are affected by this. Any owner of a scrap metal that accepts it for sale must be arrested when this law is made,” said Mbalula.

He said the scrap metal trade was the reason for the theft of railway infrastructure.

“Theft and vandalism of critical rail infrastructure with the effect of disrupting economic activity constitutes economic sabotage and should be treated as such by our courts of law.

“The corporate sector must come to the party and bolster our efforts to deal a decisive blow to the criminality that is enabled by scrap dealers buying stolen scrap metal,” he said

“We must eliminate this perverse incentive by banning the export of scrap metal and therefore limit the market that aids this criminality. Taking this step will reinforce our other interventions aimed at protecting public assets and making theft of our cables and other metals less lucrative,” he said.

Last month, City Power recovered seven bags of copper cables at a scrapyard in Devland near Soweto.

The city’s spokesperson Isaac Mangena said targeting scrapyards was key.

“When you want to kill the snake, you need to target the head. The scrapyards are the head of the cable theft problem. While we want to work with them to help us in dealing with this problem, we have realised that some of them are part of the problem,” said Mangena.

“We will intensify the raids on scrapyards in the coming days so that we cut off the head that keeps the demand for the copper cables high,” he added.


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