Thefts put lives at risk

2010-11-23 00:00

CRIMINALS who make a living selling stolen metal to scrap yards have targeted the construction site for the upgrading of the Chota Motala Road interchange on the N3 in Pietermaritzburg.

Workers at the site fear they are in danger of being knocked down by vehicles passing on the N3 because the concrete barriers have been stripped of metal reinforcement.

Said Group Five construction company store manager Seun Mpungose, “Without the reinforcement steel the concrete barriers are very dangerous if they are hit by a car or a truck. They are deadly to both workers and passing motorists.”

Mpungose said the thefts at the site began when Group Five started its construction work to upgrade the interchange in June.

Among the items that the criminals steal are barrier reinforcement steel, scaffolding metal and clamps, he added.

Some of the burglars are alleged to have been caught more than once.

Another employee said the security guards at the site have worked hard to keep the criminals away.

“The presence of security guards has helped to minimise the theft inside the fenced area of the site.

“Yet the criminals still sneak into the fenced area at night …

“These people should have learnt the lesson by now, but they still come back to steal,” said the worker.

A storeman, Senzo Mtungwa, said the theft of metal has landed the company in trouble with companies who hire out tools.

“We have lots of hired metal equipment, which at the end of the day needs to be replaced,” said Mtungwa.

Bradley Naidoo, site manager, said: “They even steal during daylight hours, but construction workers are not permitted to chase them into the road, so they call head office.

“By the time someone arrives, the thieves have disappeared.”

The head of Community Watch, the security company on site, Siyabonga Mkhize, said, “We refer the cases to the client to deal with.

“In many cases we have caught the same people more than once. We have caught about 10 people in the act of stealing.”


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