COPPER granules. The police have called on scrap metal dealers to stop paying cash for scrap copper in a bid to stem the theft of copper. File picture:ANA
COPPER granules. The police have called on scrap metal dealers to stop paying cash for scrap copper in a bid to stem the theft of copper. File picture:ANA

Communities often left in the dark as they see an increase in cable theft

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – The resurgence in cable theft in hot-spot areas such as Kromboom Parkway and Beacon Valley has left community members restless as they have to endure long hours without electricity while dealing with street lights and robot malfunctions when the power is restored.

Law enforcement Inspector Wayne Dyason said these places have been continuously targeted by cable thieves for the past week due to an increase in the copper price which is then in demand because the unemployment rate has risen.

“The international demand for copper has seen a rise in the copper price that reaches a scrap value of up to R145/kg.”

“Criminals are connecting from electric boxes to the homes as well as from street lights then they charge the community for a cheap connection once-off payment. So it is good for some illegal community members because they benefit but it is not good for the legal monthly paying clients.”

“Cable theft affects the community in various ways. The inconvenience of power outages, the loss of appliances, when there are power surges, loss of revenue, loss of perishable produce, traffic congestion, loss of business/production, loss of communication and business etc.”

“Some of the illegal connections are made to existing electrical supplies, such as street light cables, inside distribution kiosks, inside the low voltage section of transformers, to traffic signal cables etc.”

“Illegal connections cause a danger to the safety of the community and the households. Loss of revenue to the service provider, loss of production to affected entities caused by outages as a result of illegal connections.

“Damage to infrastructures, overloading transmissions/ infrastructures, excessive repair costs comes with the illegal connections and service delivery protests are bound to spin out of control. On top of that, there are delays in upgrades or new projects and electrocution of unsuspecting adults, children and animals is,” Dyason said.

Beacon Valley ward councillor Solomon Philander said that it is time that the community comes together in calling out the culprits of the crime and vandalism.

“Unfortunately sometimes our community members are fully aware of the culprits, but they fail to report or identify them.”

“This then becomes a blame game when the reality is that, it is the same vandalism that prevents us from having functional street lights, leaving women and children who travel to work in the early winter mornings vulnerable to robbery and rape.”

“Hence the only way forward is if we think of it as our problem and not the councillors' problem because if we face the reality by playing our part in calling out our neighbours, children, family or friends, we might propel as a community,” Philander said.

Weekend Argus

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