Cable theft ‘unending’

2015-08-11 06:00

Ongoing electricity cable theft in Ocean View has added to the municipality having to spend millions on replacing vandalised infrastructure in the Southern district.

The cable theft in Ocean View is “continuous” and occurs on an almost weekly basis, explains subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase.

She says the repairs are no sooner carried out than the new cables are stolen, resulting in extensive outages and costs.

The money used to repair or replace infrastructure could rather be allocated to community and social projects, if it was not for the ongoing thefts, Purchase believes.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, says cable theft in Ocean View occurs “from time to time”, with at least two incidents taking place since January.

But the theft is wide-scale, Sonnenberg says.

“In the past financial year the City of Cape Town has spent at least R8.2m on replacing vandalised apparatus in the Southern area, which includes Muizenberg, Mitchell’s Plain, Gugulethu and Wynberg. Revenue is also being lost as no electricity meters are running when infrastructure is vandalised,” he explains.

“It is our residents and business owners who suffer the most.

“Coupled with the current load shedding we are experiencing, the vandalism and theft causes further unnecessary outages.”

Apart from replacing copper cables with cables made of less valuable material, which still have scrap value, there is not much that the City can do to prevent cable theft, Sonnenberg says.

“We do not have the human resources to patrol all our assets and infrastructure.

“In some cases, we keep the streetlights burning during the day because cable thieves seldom try to cut live wires,” he says.

Cable theft and vandalism must be reported to the police, Sonnenberg says.

“We need our residents to also report suspicious activities to the City and the police as they are our ears and eyes on the ground. Without them assisting us, we will never be able to prevent cable theft,” he says.

Residents are encouraged to report cable theft to the unit that investigates copper theft, the metals theft unit (commonly known as the Copperheads) on 0800 222 771

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