Ca­ble theft con­tin­ues to haunt mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - GAUTENG NEWS - KUTULLO MADISHA ku­tul­lom@the­

LESS than a week af­ter Tsh­wane mayor Solly Msi­manga is­sued a stern warn­ing against ca­ble theft, yet an­other case was re­ported yes­ter­day, dis­rupt­ing the power sup­ply to Khut­song and Sel­bourne Side in Mamelodi East.

Msi­manga, who has called for co­or­di­nated ac­tion against ca­ble theft which costs the coun­try bil­lions of rands each year, said he would meet with the may­ors of Johannesburg and Ekurhu­leni to deal with the scourge at metro mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

From Novem­ber to date, the city has ex­pe­ri­enced at least 1 498 in­stances of ca­ble theft and van­dal­ism.

“The con­tin­ued men­ace of ca­ble theft calls for the joint ef­fort of lo­cal, pro­vin­cial and na­tional gov­ern­ments, work­ing with com­mu­ni­ties, to deal with this so­cial ill. The in­ci­dents of ca­ble theft are not only costly to the city of Tsh­wane but cre­ate un­nec­es­sary in­con­ve­nience for both the city and its con­sumers,” the mayor said.

Msi­manga said ca­ble theft was a na­tional is­sue, es­pe­cially in Gaut­eng.

“As the com­mer­cial hub of the coun­try, Gaut­eng of­fers many op­por­tu­ni­ties for ca­ble theft. The theft has the po­ten­tial to ham­per the sus­tain­able pro­vi­sion of ser­vices such as trans­port, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity,” Msi­manga said. “It af­fects the qual­ity of life of res­i­dents and ham­pers lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as well.”

Msi­manga said well-or­gan­ised crim­i­nal syn­di­cates were op­er­at­ing around the coun­try tar­get­ing the elec­tri­cal net­works of ma­jor in­fras­truc­ture such as rail­way net­works, elec­tri­cal sub­sta­tions and wa­ter treat­ment plants.

“Our as­sess­ment of these in­ci­dents in Tsh­wane in­di­cates that there is an ac­tive at­tempt to desta­bilise the city’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. As such, the ca­ble theft unit has come un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure. The unit is em­ploy­ing proac­tive mea­sures such as phys­i­cal guard­ing and pa­trols to curb ca­ble theft,” he said.

He said while the city of Tsh­wane had law en­force­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties, it was not em­pow­ered suf­fi­ciently to deal with the prob­lem.

“We can­not tar­get only those who steal ca­bles, we have to know where the ma­te­rial ends up and who is buy­ing it.

This re­quires crime in­tel­li­gence which sits with the SAPS.

“Buy­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the ma­te­rial they are buy­ing is not stolen prop­erty by in­sist­ing on the rel­e­vant doc­u­men­ta­tion so as to see where the ca­ble comes from.

“Of­ten, we find that the buy­ers are in ca­hoots with the thieves, as they buy from them at prices be­low the mar­ket price.”

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