Residents urged to report ‘elements’

2016-02-09 06:00

Unless residents report criminals who steal water meters and manhole covers, many of these “elements” will continue to operate freely and without consequence.

This is a warning issued by the City of Cape Town in a bid to encourage residents to help them in stopping these types of theft occurring across the city.

According to the City, a reward system is in place for information that leads to the arrest of cable thieves or the recovery of stolen goods.

Come ForwardThose with information are encouraged to come forward as it will help the City to ensure that public resources are not continually used on repairs or replacement of infrastructure, the City says.

Reports on theft of utility services infrastructure between July and December 2015 show a loss of R30m – this includes theft of water and sanitation, electricity, and solid waste infrastructure.

According to the City, the department of water and sanitation had been hardest hit, with a loss of R17 295 345.

This, the City says, is as a result of stolen water meters, water meter covers, and stolen or damaged manhole covers.

The electricity services department reported the second highest loss, with stolen or vandalised equipment costs totalling R9 165 775. Solid waste management reported that 8 657 bins at a value of R4 895 534 had been stolen.

Help the CityErnest Sonnenberg, mayco member for utility services, says the cost of this theft is not limited to repairing or replacing the infrastructure.

“In the case of our electricity network, theft also causes repeated blackouts, which affects local business and industry.”

He says the theft of manhole covers is also a major contributor to blocked sewers because inappropriate items can then enter the system more easily.

“The theft of water meters and fire hydrants and the resultant leaks also contribute significantly to water losses. At a time when the region is experiencing reduced rainfall, we can ill-afford to waste a single drop.

“It is therefore especially important that residents act decisively against these criminal elements within their community,” says Sonnenberg.V If you would like to report cable theft or give tip-offs to the City’s metals theft unit, commonly known as the Copperheads, on 0800 222 771 or 021 400 2828.

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