CAPE TOWN - The Drakenstein Municipality is offering a reward of up to R5 000 for anyone with credible information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of suspects involved in cable theft, following a recent surge in incidents.
During the 2020/21 financial year, the municipality said it suffered losses of over R5 million to replace infrastructure due to cable theft.
“Following a recent surge in cable theft in Drakenstein, the municipality has devised an action plan to deal with criminals guilty of this selfish act. This includes the city manager setting up a metal and cable theft unit – a specialised unit that aims to clamp down specifically on vandalism, theft of municipal infrastructure and cable theft.
“In the meanwhile, the municipality has increased by-law enforcement in this regard, assisted by private security service providers,” the municipality said.
A recent example saw criminals targeting overhead lines at Keerweder Road, Paarl, where more than 120m of cable was stolen, causing damage to essential electrical infrastructure and agricultural production.
“Cable theft costs the municipality money and robs residents – not only of uninterrupted power, but also of services that could have been rendered with funds that the municipality now has to spend on repairing and replacing cables. Worst of all is the potential loss of innocent lives due to electrocution or fires as a result of exposed cables,” the municipality said.
Some of the measures already implemented include the installation of aluminium cables where possible, which have a much lower resale value than copper.
The municipality also installed cable detectors to alert SAPS and the municipality’s law enforcement division when anyone starts tampering with cables.
Security at Drakenstein’s electricity substations was increased, and pepper spray systems, more lighting and electrified security fencing were installed at the substations to prevent access. The areas are monitored 24/7 by closed-circuit television cameras.
Drakenstein residents can report any suspicious activity relating to cable theft to its 24/7 control room at 021 807 8508, or to police.
Anonymous tip-offs can be made to: 021 807 8508 or 080 131 3553 toll free.