Copper sheeting stolen from city hall roof

2013-03-12 00:00

THE story of a damaged grand piano that derailed a concert at the weekend has exposed rampant theft at the city hall.

Apparently the water that damaged the piano, worth more than R1 million, leaked from a hole in the roof where thieves had removed copper sheeting.

According to city authorities, the sheeting — 12 metres long and 90 cm wide — as well as 25 metres of copper cable were stolen last month.

“I was alarmed to learn that copper was stolen at the city hall from right under our nose,” said Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert.

He said this was not the first time that items had gone missing from the city hall.

“We first had a fridge belonging to the executive committee boardroom stolen and a computer from one of the offices …”

Lambert said he recently lost a travel bag containing his travel documents, driver’s licence and some foreign currency.

“I am very alarmed by the thieving going on there because this looks like an inside job. I mean, how does one carry a copper sheet that big without anyone at the city hall seeing?”

A city hall insider said there were only three ways a person could access the roof of the building.

“One is through the door on the second floor, the second is through the old caretaker’s office and the third is on the second floor in the municipal manager’s office, so how would a person enter the city hall and leave with copper cables without anyone noticing?”

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said a case of theft of the copper was opened last month.

He said security at the city hall was a cause for concern because theft was a regular occurrence.

“The city hall working group is meeting on March 28 to look at all the issues about the city hall, including security and maintenance,” he said.

Zuma said it would be a misleading to imply that the city hall had been neglected.

“There is maintenance taking place there. Whether it is adequate or not is another issue. In the recent past, there was a revamp of some of the ground floor offices. Lights in the corridors were changed, chairs in the hall were repaired, painting was done and it is continuing as we speak.”

He said the leak that damaged the piano had not been detected, or the piano would have been removed and the leak attended to.

“In the meantime we will check with our insurance as to what possibilities exist,” said Zuma.

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