Durban - Four men arrested in Inanda for cable theft are expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
According SAPS Captain Thulani Zwane, members of the Phoenix Tactical Response Unit were on patrol in the Osindisweni and Verulam areas on Tuesday when they were alerted to possible cable theft in Inanda.
They were directed to a house where they found what looked like stolen cables. They questioned a man at the house about the cables, but he could not give a satisfactory answer and was arrested.
Later the unit came across three suspicious-looking occupants of a vehicle. They searched it and found suspected stolen copper cable.
The three occupants were arrested and charged in terms of the Second Hand Goods Act.
All four are due to appear at the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday
Durban mayor James Nxumalo said last week that people who stole cables had an “inflated sense of entitlement” which he would no longer tolerate.
Theft of copper cable costs the city R230 million a year, he said.
Nxumalo said ratepayers were greatly inconvenienced by power outages caused by cable theft.
This is the case in Keerath Road, Isipingo Hills, where residents were often without power for days at a time.
One of the residents, who has been living there for over 33 years, has written to the municipality detailing the power outages and appealing to officials to take action because “residents are suffering”.
The letter, dated June 26, detailed how residents had suffered four power cuts within five days, with the longest lasting more than half a day.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said he was yet to receive a response from the city.
In Glen Hills, residents are experiencing similar problems.
Robin Candy, who has been living in Glen Hills for 26 years and is a member of the area’s community policing forum, said: “Something has to be done. Theft of cables is affecting us. They have stolen so many of the cables half of the lights on Mallaca Road are off.”
Candy believes electrifying the nearby informal settlement, where illegal connections were rife, would help to solve the problem.
Heinz de Boer, ward councillor for Glen Hills, said: “It is a frustrating problem for the community. But the long-term solution to this is to provide electricity to the people of the informal settlement.”
eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa, said: “The municipality has in many instances disconnected the cables, but the informal residents reconnect illegally, causing further trips, and leaving some areas without electricity.”
Mthethwa said the city was trying to alleviate the problem by connecting more shack dwellers to the grid. She said alarm systems had been installed on high-profile substations and those targeted by illegal connections.
She appealed to the public to report any suspicions of electricity or cable theft to 031 311 9611.