The Nelson Mandela Metropole needs to establish a specialised unit of a Metro police service to deal with the cable theft and theft of metal. IN the city of Cape Town where the DA is the governing party, a specialised unit of the Metro Police called the COPPERHEADS was established. This resulted in the city of Cape Town’s losses being brought down in a single year from R22 million to R500 000.

Metal theft continues to be a problem and until the correct strategies are put in place this problem will continue to cost the Metro countless millions.

Cable and metal theft impacts on the everybody’s daily lives and causes suffering and hardship. When telephones don’t work, when street lights go out, when refrigerators go off, when piping is ripped out of school toilets, when businesses can’t communicate people are severely negatively affected.

In October 2008 when I questioned the then MEC for Safety and Liaison, Thobile Mhlahlo I was informed that not one single scrap dealer had been charged nor one single syndicate been identified in the Province.

In 2008 the whole suburb of Kwanobuhle was plunged into darkness as a result of electric cable theft. Businesses and schools have also been plundered for metal parts. Piping continues to be ripped from walls.

The DA National Research estimated that in 2008 R5 billion rand is lost annually due to metal theft.

A specialised unit to deal with metal theft is clearly an imperative as organised criminal activity is involved. The DA believes that further solutions are :

  • Increased export control of containers carrying metal;
  • Specialised training of judicial officers and SAPS members;
  • Marking of copper cables – all newly manufactured cables should be micro dotted;
  • Establish a reward hotline;
  • The second hand goods act must be rigidly enforced. Failure to comply must result in culprits being charged.

The theft of cables has an extremely detrimental impact on business as communication lines are taken down. Two years ago, Addo farmers were out of communication for three weeks as a result of telephone wires being stolen. This impacts negatively on their export businesses.

This issue, once more, highlights the importance of establishing a Metro Police service. Crime in this country will only be beaten when we have the right strategies and the commitment to deal with it.

For further information, please contact Bobby Stevenson, MPL on 0827753444

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