Cable theft hits Bohmer Road twice

2016-01-26 06:00
Photo: supplied  The Bohmer Road power supply that was ‘hacked’ last week by cable thieves.

Photo: supplied The Bohmer Road power supply that was ‘hacked’ last week by cable thieves.

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CABLE theft in Bohmer Road, New Germany left residents without electricity for days last week.

According to residents this happened for the second time in two months.

Pinetown SAPS Communications Officer Warrant Officer BJ Manqele said cable theft has become common in many areas and is a major inconvenience for residents.

“The first mistake residents do is not report the case to the police. The public must report every criminal activity in order for the police to commence with investigations.” eThekwini head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa said: “The eThekwini Municipality has been experiencing high volumes of non-ferrous metal theft with all infrastructure such as electricity, water, traffic and engineering infrastructure being targeted.”

She said theft of electrical infrastructure includes almost anything with scrap value and domestic use like electrical cables such as street-light cables, house service cables, medium voltage cables, high voltage cables, theft of neutrals and sectorials from substations, bare and insulated overhead copper and aluminium conductors, transformers, copper earthing conductors from poles, steel members from high -voltage electrical pylons and/or towers and miscellaneous items such as meters, circuit breakers, light fittings and transformer oil.

Strategies applied by the municipality to fight cable theft and other structural damage include using technology to combat unauthorised entry into substations, 136 distributor substations throughout the eThekwini region installed with pepper-gas technology, implementing a programme to install integrated CCTV and access control systems at all high-voltage substations and creating infrastructure theft monitoring control room.

Also included is to increase searches at scrap dealers to locate municipal cables and other stolen assets (Second- Hand Goods Act), awareness campaigns in hot spot areas at community forums, CPFs, etc.

Cases struck off the investigation roll are forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions for further investigation. Affected service connections have been converted from underground mains to overhead mains to minimise the interruption of supply to customers. The overhead, bare copper, low-voltage circuits have been replaced with aerial bundled conductor as a deterrent to tapping into exposed copper lines.

“Most definitely, harsher sentences will eventually be a deterrent. However, it requires a combined effort from all stakeholders, including SAPS, prosecutors and the community to reduce incidents of copper theft.”

Any suspicion of cable or copper theft must be reported to the electricity’s call centre on 080 13 13 111, SMS

083 700 0819 or email

Cable theft hotline on 031 311 9611, SAPS 10111, Metro Police emergency number, 031 361 0000.

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