Police eye cable theft

2018-06-12 06:01

Theft of copper cables across the Cape Flats has become a major issue over the past few years. Damages have cost local businesses and railway infrastructure millions of rand to replace stolen cables.

“Several cables were stolen from our premises last December, and it had cost us quite a lot to replace during that period. These thieves do not realise the damage they are causing to both local entrepreneurs and the community. They are also putting their lives in danger with this life-threatening activity,” says Safwaan Morris, a businessman from Manenberg.

“To add, when cables are being stolen from a railway station, there is a delay in travelling or a shutdown of a specific route. This affects thousands of people who have to go to work in the morning to put bread on their table. It is not right and action needs to be taken against those guilty of it.”

Earlier this year, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) called on the government, through the media, stakeholders and communities to assist in the ongoing fight against cable theft. The call was prompted by ongoing criminal activity on railways across the country, resulting in the loss of lives and derailed trains, this according to www.infrustracturene.ws.

In a recent incident, a 36-year-old suspect was arrested in Manenberg last Monday and appeared in court for possession of copper cables and for theft and damage of Prasa infrastructure in the area.

The arrest comes after integrated investigations between Prasa and Manenberg police to clamp down on damage being caused to the railway infrastructure, which has cost millions to replace and repair, annually.

It is confirmed that police received information regarding an address in Jade Crescent, Manenberg, from where copper cables were being disposed of. Upon police arrival, the suspect was busy stripping and disposing of copper cables.

Captain Ian Bennet from Manenberg Police Station says several strips of copper wire – which had been stripped out of insulation casing, found on the premises – have been identified as part of Prasa rail infrastructure­.

“The damage to the infrastructure where these cables were stripped from is valued at R200 000, and is sold for nothing to legal and illegal scrapyards. Scrap dealers are criminalising themselves when they continue to buy copper without verifying the source of where the cables are obtained. The suspect in this case is still in police custody,” he adds.

The Western Cape Government urges the public to continue making contact with their Cable Theft Unit. This department deals specifically with vandalism, cable and metal theft, and relies on tipoffs from the public. Call the unit for information on ways to deal with the issue.

V Anyone with information regarding ongoing cable theft and damage at the Prasa infrastructure in Manenberg can also contact Manenberg Police Station on 021 699 9400 or the Cable Theft Unit’s toll-free number on 080 022 2771.

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