Cape Town - With the return of load shedding and the ongoing cable theft and vandalism of power infrastructure, Bonteheuwel residents are dreading the upcoming cold winter season.
This after two perpetrators were caught in the act while vandalising cable infrastructure in Loganberry and Borriehout streets during the load shedding period in the early hours of on Tuesday morning.
While one perpetrator was arrested, the police allegedly refused to arrest a suspect after the Borriehout Street residents took him to the police station.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk confirmed that a 44-year-old man was arrested early yesterday in Loganberry Street after he was found with an electrical box that was damaged and all wires exposed. The man was also found with a spade in his possession.
Bonteheuwel Ratepayers and Tenants Association chairperson Nadia Mayman said with load shedding, cable and metal theft increased and with the lights out this provided an opportunity for the thieves.
“The big contributors to this theft are the local scrapyards. The thieves can steal something and turn it into cash in a short space of time and it is our opinion that if there were no scrapyards in our areas the thieves would think twice about stealing and vandalising infrastructure,” she said.
Ward councillor Angus McKenzie called on the police to support the community’s fight against cable theft and not work against them.
McKenzie recently raised concerns over the lack of arrests and prosecution of cable thieves in the area, despite credible information provided by the residents.
“The majority of Bonteheuwel residents, irrespective of the time, are standing up against these criminals and those that protect them irrespective of whether they are family or close friends.
“They are not taking the law into their own hands but rather protecting infrastructure, homes, and fellow residents and for this to be successful, it requires that SAPS to not only protect but serve and partner with us,” he said.
McKenzie said inconsistent service from police does little to strengthen the community’s effort in rooting out criminals and their protectors.
“Taking back our community and taking the law into our own hands is a very thin line, a line that SAPS must strengthen to avoid the very real threat of uprising brought on by high levels of community frustration.
“While I applaud the efforts of residents, I implore the SAPS to partner with us and be part of our collective solution in making Bonteheuwel a better place,” McKenzie said.
Bishop Lavis CPF chairperson Graham Lindhorst said a plea was made to Eskom to implement load shedding in the area during the day.