Howick cable theft rampage

2013-07-10 00:00

CABLE thieves have moved their hunting ground to Howick, with Eskom reporting a dramatic increase in theft in the area in the past months.

On Friday, the thieves struck three times in one night and, according to the police, almost hit again yesterday but were disturbed by an alert resident.

Joyce Zingoni, Eskom’s KZN communcation manager, said 17 incidents of cable theft had been reported over the past two months to the Howick police. Zingoni said Friday’s incident was discussed with station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Nyide.

She added that Nyide had made a commitment to step up night patrols and conduct regular “stop and searches” in the area. Zingoni said the Pietermaritzburg Crime Intelligence Unit had also been informed and was aware of the incidents.

Police spokesperson for the Howick area, Captain Lolly Moodley, confirmed that police in the area were on high alert. The uMngeni Municipality had also made available its technical services department to assist Eskom in whatever way it could, municipal spokesperson Thando Mgaga said yesterday.

Zingoni said Eskom will continue to roll out awareness campaigns in communities and participate in crime prevention operations in the area.

“Our security risk management department is also committed to attend community policing forum meetings with a view to encouraging the community to help protect Eskom’s infrastructure by reporting any suspicious activities or copper theft incidents to the SAPS and Eskom,” she said.

According to Zingoni, cable thieves are sabotaging not only Eskom but the wider economy. “The whole process of managing losses in our business and taking actions against perpetrators is costly, but the biggest cost to the country is that cable theft prevents access to a basic need of electricity services in our communities. Eskom cannot keep up with replacing the stolen cables and conductors,” she added.

Electricity-related crimes can be reported anonymously to Eskom’s toll-free crime reporting line: 080 011 2722 or by SMS to the Crime Line 32211. SMSes cost R1.

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