OUR country is being threatened by aculture of vandalism and criminality. The threat is fuelled by criminal elements selling copper to companies using copper wiring. Water pumping stations, Telkom’s communication line exchanges and Eskom’s power substations are being targeted by criminals dealing in copper. This cripples economic growth in the country. To curb these activities the government has taken serious action by sentencing perpetrators to no less than five years in prison. Offenders will now receive a minimum prison sentence of three years. It is true that unemployment is high, but people cannot be encouraged to vandalise and to steal from the same basket from which they receive their basic services. A typical example is criminals cutting copper cables at power substations in order to make a living. It is the responsibility of every citizen to look after our resources and to prevent criminality in our communities by reporting perpetrators to the police. People often know who the perpetrators are, but out of fear of victimisation they turn a blind eye and keep quiet. It often happens that people get excited when their unemployed partners turn up at home carrying groceries, knowing full well that these persons did not have money to buy it. They are not questioned as to where they found the money.People should be punished for all their wrongs. This will serve as a deterrent. Kido Thoabala, communications manager at the Department of Water and Sanitation, writes in her personal capacity. Express welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the weekly column as social observers or citizen journalists. There is no payment for writers. Send your opinion piece (not exceeding 500 words, in Sotho or English) to email@example.com. Church leaders are welcome to submit articles of a spiritual nature.