Cable theft continues to haunt municipalities
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.”