Bellville forum warns of water meter plunderers

A screengrab of CCTV footage shows a suspects stealing a water meter in Bellville.

A screengrab of CCTV footage shows a suspects stealing a water meter in Bellville.

Published Apr 12, 2024


Cape Town - The Bellville Community Policing Forum (CPF) has warned of a spate of water meter thefts in the area.

Boston, Oakdale and several surrounding areas have been plagued by the problem over the past few months.

CPF chairperson Emre Uygun said the theft of water meters caused damage to infrastructure in the areas.

“When residents come home after their water meter has been stolen, an entire road is flooded with water. It is causing a lot of issues,” he said.

Uygun said the water meters were being stolen for their copper content.

“It is not actually the water meter. There is copper inside. We are also trying to discover if there is a buyer or a scrap dealer buying this from the criminals,” he said.

The Boston City Improvement District (CID) previously detained a homeless man for stealing water meters.

According to Uygun, he received a three-year suspended sentence.

“They found him guilty. He is now back on the street and stealing more.

“He was arrested for other offences before but the court doesn’t want to convict,” Uygun said.

The Cape Argus has seen CCTV footage of an alleged thief removing a water meter outside of a Bellville property.

The theft of water meters is a widespread problem, taking place across Cape Town as about 2 255 meters were stolen and replaced between July 2022 and May 2023, the City said.

Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien said this had cost the City R3.9 million.

He said stealing a water meter from a property caused major inconvenience for the affected household as they were left without a water supply until their meter could be replaced.

“When such incidents occur, the City makes every effort to replace these reported stolen meters in the shortest time frame,” Badroodien said.

Jean Beukman, head of Boston CID, said: “There are people who come and steal copper pipes and taps on the outside of properties, but with the Boston CID public safety officers patrolling Boston, that problem is under control.”

Uygun said a special police unit would be deployed, and urged residents to report any suspicious activity to their local neighbourhood watches.

“If you are involved with your local neighbourhood watch you will always have someone being on the lookout,” he said.

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