Copper cable theft is becoming an increasing problem in KwaZulu-Natal, says MEC for Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu.
In the year to March 31, 10 397 incidents of copper cable theft were reported and 1 526 suspects were charged.
The problem has affected many businesses and institutions, including schools and police stations, says DA MPL Mark Steele, who recently brought up the issue in the legislature.
Steele said it was time the MEC created a task team to determine the extent of the problem.
He recommended that the team include representatives of Telkom and local councils.
“That is the first step,” he said.
“The second step has to be the proper inspection and policing of scrap metal dealers who are buying and selling stolen copper wire.”
According to Mchunu, national and provincial strategies on non-ferrous metals are in place.
A provincial non-ferrous metals crime combating committee had been launched in July last year, he said.
The committee included such roleplayers as Eskom, Telkom, Metrorail, eThekwini Electricity and the SAPS, Mchunu said.
It met monthly to formulate strategies to curb the problem.
The committee also visited scrap metal dealers to see if they were complying with the Second-Hand Goods Act of 2009.
The act requires dealers to report any suspicious transactions in second-hand goods to the police.
Mchunu said it would be possible to evaluate the committee’s impact only at the end of this financial year.