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Copper theft cripples South Africa’s railways, leaving commuters waiting

Copper theft cripples South Africa’s railways, leaving commuters waiting

MFUNEKO TOYANA and SIYABONGA SISHI HLONI Doporo stands on a platform in Soweto's Orlando Station, waiting for a train that may never come because thieves have stripped away most of the power cables. When South Africa shut large parts of its economy and transport network during its COVID-19 lockdown, organised, sometimes armed, gangs moved into its crumbling stations to steal the valuable copper from the lines. Now, more than two months after that lockdown ended, the commuter rail system, relied on by millions of commuters, is barely operational. "The government has allowed this to happen," Doporo, 25 says, staring across…
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