Strandfontein hit by drain cover theft
Cape Town - After a decrease in cable theft in Strandfontein, the area has now been hit by a spate of drain cover thefts.
In one day, community policing forum (CPF) chairperson Sandy Schuter said she reported 12 missing covers. With no cables to steal, Schuter said criminals were diverting their attention to drain covers.
“On the same day that the drain covers were replaced, the following day they were stolen again. I discovered that last week, on Monday, and I reported them and they were replaced. But on Thursday and Friday, while doing a bus patrol in the morning, there were no drain covers. We understand, as a community, that this is not something that the City can stop from happening because thieves look for every opportunity to steal. But if they can use alternative covers that are not worth anything, this can be avoided,” she said.
Schuter said two cars have already been damaged as a result.
“We can't police every drain cover and we need them especially when it rains or we will have flooded streets. There are quite a number of residents that have identified a white vehicle that has been collecting the drain covers,” Schuter said.
Strandfontein Ratepayers and Residents Association Mario Oonstendurp said implications of the removal of drain covers included personal injuries to pedestrians, as well as damage to motor vehicles.
“The City might not be able to stop the theft, but preventative measures could be put in place by replacing the drain covers with recycled materials and intensifying the inspections at scrap yards. We, as communities, hold the power by reporting persons who we know and, many times, witness removing the drain covers,” he said.
Mayoral Committee (Mayco) member for Transport Felicity Purchase said theft of drain covers and other City infrastructure happens all over the city. All areas and residents are affected.
“We are busy replacing the stolen cast iron grids with polymer grids, as it has no resale value. Although the polymer has no resale value, the City still spends money to replace those that are stolen – this is money that could have been spent on other essential services for residents,” she said.
Purchase called on residents to immediately call the City when witnessing the theft, or to report a stolen cover.