East London police arrested five men who got caught in the act stealing cables.
Police Spokesperson Captain Mluleki Mbi says the men are aged between 25 and 56 and were busy digging a massive trench stretching over 2 km where they stole a huge chunk of cables and lead.
He says cable theft and damages to the railway and power line infrastructure are serious crimes with a detrimental effect on the public transport system an electricity supply.
Police, together with officials from the Buffalo City Metro have been monitoring a group of cable thieves operating in and around the Amalinda and Cambridge areas.
The men will appear in court soon and face charges of tampering with essential infrastructure, possession of stolen property and bribery.
During the arrest, police recovered 79kg of copper cables, lead cables and equipment used to dig trenches.