SAPS secure more than 2000 convictions in essential infrastructure related crimes in six years

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Apr 17, 2024


Police have secured more than 2000 convictions in cases related to non-ferrous metals and essential infrastructure crimes across the country in the last six financial years.

The convictions stemmed from the nearly 70 000 reported cases of copper theft and approximately 2200 arrests that were effected.

This emerged in replies by Police Minister Bheki Cele to parliamentary questions from Cope MP Teboho Loate.

Loate enquired whether specialised units within the SAPS dedicated to infrastructure protection were established to respond swiftly to incidents and focus on prevention of theft to essential infrastructure from February 2018.

Cele said the police have no specialised units but do have a total of 20 Economic Infrastructure Task Teams (EITTs).

“Eighteen Economic Infrastructure Task Teams were established at district level and two at provincial level within priority areas in the provinces to address non-ferrous metal, essential infrastructure, critical infrastructure and extortion related crimes since 2022.

“The SAPS is currently conducting a work study investigation to determine the viability of converting the EITTs into permanent Economic Infrastructure Units within the economic infrastructure environment,” he said.

Cele said the SAPS have also established the Energy Safety and Security Priority Committee as well as the National Logistics Crisis Committee to address matters within the Eskom and Transnet environments, respectively.

This was to ensure there was consistency in securing the national power grid and effective operation of the freight rail and port systems in South Africa.

“Furthermore, continuous monthly operations are executed within all provinces in relation to the prevention and addressing of non-ferrous metals and essential infrastructure related crimes under the auspices of the National Crime Combating Forum. These are being conducted in partnership with external role players such as Telkom, Eskom, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Vodacom and identified municipalities.”

According to the replies furnished by Cele, a total of 69 881 non-ferrous metal and essential infrastructure related cases have been reported since 2018.

The highest number reported during the period was in 2022/23 with 15 322 incidents.

This was followed by 13 628 in the financial year of 2018/19, 12 421 incidents reported in 2021/22 and 12 321 others in 2023/24.

Cele's reply also stated that the police effected 28 881 arrests over the six-year period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, there were 6 756 arrests while in the prior year there were 6023 arrests.

The SAPS were able to make 2285 convictions over the past six financial years.

Cape Times