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Drop in electricity infrastructure vandalism in Cape Town but it remains a challenge

Belhar police arrested four suspects stealing cables in Stellenbosch arterial road near Delft. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Belhar police arrested four suspects stealing cables in Stellenbosch arterial road near Delft. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town - Four suspects suspects are to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court after the police caught them excavating cables on the scene near Stellenbosch Arterial Road in Delft on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the officers spotted unknown men acting suspiciously.

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This came as the City reports a slight increase in the vandalism of its electricity infrastructure in the Atlantis and Helderberg areas with estimated damage to infrastructure for the month of April standing around R2.4 million to repair and replace.

However, energy Mayco member Beverley van Reenen said while it remains a challenge, incidents in some areas had decreased.

Helderberg community leader John Brits Magwebu said on Tuesday an innocent resident in Sir Lowry's Pass died after he was electrocuted by a vandalised cable.

Brits Magwebu said the informal settlements with no electricity in the area were a contributing factor to the damage to the infrastructure.

“I have always wondered about how these electricity cables are not as deep as they are supposed to be – just a metre and a half deep down, which is too shallow. This makes it easy for these criminals to dig and while these companies are trying to save money, they instead lose a lot of it in the long run. Manenberg activist Roegshanda Pascoe said the increase in illegal scrapyards in residential areas further exacerbated vandalism.

Bonteheuwel Ratepayers and Tenants Association chairperson Nadia Mayman said these scrapyards were not regulated and operated outside trading hours.

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“It is our opinion that if there were no scrapyards in our areas the criminals would think twice about stealing. We really must do something about these illegal scrap operators in our area.

Safety and Security Mayco member JP Smith said in the first three months of the year the Metals Theft Unit arrested 54 suspects, issued over 2 000 fines and recovered hundreds of kilograms of infrastructure belonging to the City, Eskom, Telkom, and other entities.

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