Two men have been arrested and R2m worth of cables found in Durban. eThekwini Municipality mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda has welcomed the arrests Picture: IANS_DL_RPT, IANS

Durban - Two men, who are believed to be a part of a cable-stealing syndicate, were arrested with at least R2 million worth of cables in their possession. 

Commenting on the arrest, eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, said cables are stolen frequently and this was of major concern.

"Sadly, some members of the community are fully aware of this illicit behaviour and they choose not to report these criminals. We are fully aware that our people are bearing the brunt of unemployment, but stealing municipal infrastructure, is worsening our problems. This needs to come to a stop or risk to live permanently without running water, he said. 

He explained that in order for the city to pump water to reservoirs, it relies on power and in the event of any power outage, it becomes an uphill battle to provide water normally. 

"This is as a result of water being depleted from the reservoirs after the malfunctioning of pumps. Building capacity to reservoirs, take numerous hours. This means during this process not a single drop drips from taps and this causes a frustration to residents. The current rolling blackouts have compounded the city’s woes," he said. 

Kaunda moved to reassure residents that under no circumstances will the city deliberately deprive communities water. 

"We are facing a situation that is abnormal and beyond our control and requires that we work together to triumph over it. Our cables are stolen frequently and this is of major concern," he said. 

Kaunda hailed the arrest of the two men. 

"I would like to commend our law enforcement agencies who upon receiving a tip off, moved with speed and intercepted a truck laden with our cables worth over R2 million. I am calling upon institutions responsible for dispensing justice to make an example with these men. It is the responsibility of all of us to protect municipal infrastructure because the improvement of our well-being hinges upon it. Thieves must always be isolated," he said. 

Kaunda said to all areas that are currently facing water outages, the city has mobilised water tankers to provide clean water. 

The mayor is calling upon all communities to refrain from embarking on violent service delivery protests as this will never offer any solution to the challenges beyond control faced by city. 

He denounced the torching of a municipal bus in Ntuzuma allegedly by irate residents who are part of a violent protest against water outages underway.

The Mercury