Cable theft costing R5bn a year - Mthethwa

2012-11-20 14:32

Cape Town - Cable theft costs South Africa about R5bn a year, and the "war on cable theft" is being intensified, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

In written reply to a parliamentary question, he said training for designated "second-hand goods" police officers was currently underway.

This would ensure that police not only arrested those who broke the law, but also secured harsher convictions in court.

"Cable theft should be viewed as a serious crime which has potential to negatively impact our economic growth as a country. We cannot allow that, hence our declaration of war on izinyoka [cable thieves]," he said.

Difficult to address

The incidents reported often involved theft from Spoornet of utility metres and cabling, theft of municipal metres and cabling, theft of cables and transformers from Eskom, as well as cases of theft of wire from private farms.

These cases were difficult to address unless the suspect was caught in the act or there were witnesses.

"However, there is now a closer scrutiny of second-hand metal dealers and intensified investigations by our detective division and, where applicable, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, otherwise known as the Hawks," Mthethwa said.

Among the measures currently being implemented by the SA Police Service to address cable theft, were crime prevention patrols and engagements with role-players through formal structures.

Act into effect

To this end, a non-ferrous metals committee had been established at national level involving both business and government departments.

In May this year, the Second-Hand Goods Act had come into effect.

In essence, the act stipulates that any person buying stolen goods, including cables, is as guilty as the person who stole the goods. If an unscrupulous dealer is found guilty, a court could impose a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The act also makes specific provisions for accrediting the industry dealers and associations, and compliance monitoring. Stolen metals include copper cables, piping, bolts, and manhole covers.

Such theft continuously disrupted and degraded services, including the rail transport system, the power supply provided by Eskom, and Telkom's telecommunication services, Mthethwa said.

  • gavin.lott.9 - 2012-11-20 14:35

    Check Nkandla for it!

      junaid.vanderwalt - 2012-11-20 15:10

      They need to visit those gantries on freeways, e-tolls will never work.

      michael.horton.566790 - 2012-11-20 15:19

      I wonder if the government spent R5bn a year on building houses and improving service delivery and infrastructures in the townships, if would still have so much crime... If they spent R5bn on enriching the economy it would have also helped create more jobs and decease poverty! Think about it... R5bn a year x say 10 years... This is R50bn!!! How many houses could not have been built? They would not sit with this theft! Look after your people first and they will look after you!!! Just a pity the hardworking citizens has to cover the expenses to replace all these cables!

      jack.oosthuysen - 2012-11-20 17:33

      Seriously.10 years ago I supplied Escom with names and transactions made by the original big gun cable thieves. Two weeks later I was warned that a prize tag was on my head.

  • bob.slap.5 - 2012-11-20 14:43

    hey my friends, at least they are doing a real job of recycling old cable,

      mercia.rand - 2012-11-20 14:51

      Old cable? The stuff hanging on poles "old cable" - my friend, you need a slap.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-20 14:43

    The war on cable theft is being intensified, next year they would steal for R10billion.

      cecilhstephens - 2012-11-20 16:16

      14% TAX on R5bn why must the ANC Government stop the theft ? if they stop the circulating of copper they will go bang !!!!

  • Bob - 2012-11-20 14:44

    You can make as many new laws and acts as you want! Who exactly is going to implement them....hardly anyone! All talk and no real action at grass roots level…!

      mercia.rand - 2012-11-20 14:49

      Do what they do in UK - where scrap metal has no second hand value.

      J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-11-20 15:46

      The cost must be far more than R5bn a year if the social disruption is added. In the UK there is massive co-operation between the Police and straight second-hand metal dealers which cannot happen here with the present state of the Police, and of which of course the Minister makes no mention.

      cecilhstephens - 2012-11-20 16:20

      All they have to do is make the selling and buying of copper an ellegal offence as is with gold etc and and only have certified and controlled agents to deal in the stuff

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-20 17:07

      Government seems to get really hot under the collar when people steal from them.. Maybe they should get SARS to run this new unit? I hate izinyoka.. they even tried pulling the steel outside bit on my postbox off and now I'm annoyed every time I look at it all bent... Locusts!

  • werner.nel.712 - 2012-11-20 14:44

    How many scrap dealers have you arrested that are creating this market?

      ingi.raikes - 2012-11-20 14:55

      Ja, that is the question! Check out the dealers, they are creating the demand!

      anthro45 - 2012-11-20 15:32

      Why not check out the cable manufaturers as well? Cable theft must be very profitable for them?

  • ruben.maistry - 2012-11-20 14:47

    While you are at it, please look into the theft by the government officials.

  • brad.ken.18 - 2012-11-20 14:56

    You seem upset about it. I can understand. Less for you to thieve! DOWN WITH cANCer!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-20 14:56

    Personally I think it's those darn colonials stealing the cables.

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-20 14:59

    BBBEE (Black Broad Backed Entitled Embezzlement) Redistribution of Wealth TRIPLED: 1) THEFT (by future warvets) & then sale of Cable coupled with subsequent 2) Write-off of debt and refund by state tax payers funds and coupled again by 3) tenderpreneur contracts to resupply new cable to be stolen MAGICALLY "MAKE MONEY" THE AFRICAN WAY!

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-20 15:37

      For the uninformed - 'warvets' is pronounced wovit.

  • julian.mulder - 2012-11-20 15:05

    And money theft in the ANC is costing the country more than just R5bn a year

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-11-20 15:13

    Fact is, the government does not have the will to combat crime and they do not have the know how either!

      darryl.maze1 - 2012-11-20 16:06

      Problem is government is part of the crime as all of them are ex criminals and are so corrupt.

  • John - 2012-11-20 15:13

    The natural resources of SA belong to the indigenous people of SA , by stealing cable they are getting the resources in a refined form. It like affirmative shopping , it's their right...................isn't it???

  • joyce.beeton - 2012-11-20 15:13

    Cable theft should be classified under "sabotage" - serious crime in any country. Serious crimes need serious attention and until such time as the powers that be start introducing harsh and effective sentences, nothing will change. Criminals are not deterred by the law in this country, which is why criminals from other bordering countries come here to do their mischief - they know if they committed crime in their own country they would receive the death penalty or worse!

  • eland.snitbul - 2012-11-20 15:14

    Jeez and there I went to uni and studied 4 years while all I had to do was dig up some cable next to my house....Total lack of police and prosecution is causing more people to revert to criminal activities to survive and adding to this is the lack of job creation, proper living conditions and proper education which should have been provided by all the hard earned cash being stolen by cANCer.

  • arno.gericke.9 - 2012-11-20 15:19

    So basically - someone (copper recyclers) have made a couple of billion from this illegal trade. They only keep stealing because there's an uncontrolled market for the goods, control the market and you'll control the theft. And no, I'm not saying implementing another bl00dy tax, enough of those FFS. Just audit all the copper recycling firms then you'll quickly see who's buying stolen goods.

      mark.fine1 - 2012-11-20 20:11

      The scrap industry is probably the most highly regulated industry in the country Arno.

  • jannie.kotze.7 - 2012-11-20 15:23

    There is a third force behind this, it is called the cANCer's enterpreneurs who keep their supplying of cables business' healthy wealthy and alive. Expect the turnover to increase.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-20 15:38

      Well perhaps, and I say it's those darn colonials.

  • brendan.healey.315 - 2012-11-20 15:38

    I knew it was bad but I'm dumbstruck !!

  • djmain1 - 2012-11-20 15:39

    That is a fraction of what the cANCer people are stealing from us taxpayers - rather go after them. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!

  • marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-20 15:49

    Just ban any trade in scrap copper and it's export. Problem finished.

  • matsutle.aphane - 2012-11-20 15:49

    where are this thugs selling that material to?? obvious the manufactures an scrupyards guys,,! they are humering our economy badly, well done for addressing that thorny issue,NATHI

  • timothy.crowley.96 - 2012-11-20 15:50

    We find this out only after being questioned and after loosing 5 billion rand like it was chump change. The ANC government works the opposite "cure is better than prevention"

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-20 16:09

      well they don't even have a cure, they just present statistics as if it's someone else's problem.

  • jannie.kotze.7 - 2012-11-20 15:52

    How does that differ from R238m for Nkandla, and R200k of police secret fund for wall arround private house of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa?? Just asking?

  • Mbuso Siera - 2012-11-20 15:58

    Mr Mthethwa..put the Stake holders affected by this illegal act,the cable Manufactures,cable Suppliers nd the scrap Recycling companies....into 1 room...have a serious discussion...u might come up with a solution to reduce this illegal activities....though it might cause job loses to some individuals...

  • alaina.robbertse - 2012-11-20 17:52

    mtethwa is telling lies.He belongs to the ANC.

  • thabo.rangaka1 - 2013-01-04 12:15

    "Cable theft should be viewed as a serious crime which has potential to negatively impact our economic growth as a country. We cannot allow that, hence our declaration of war on izinyoka [cable thieves]," he said.Such theft continuously disrupted and degraded services, including the rail transport system, the power supply provided by Eskom, and Telkom's telecommunication services, Mthethwa said. MINISTER, what you describe above is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA AS A COUNTRY! In my book this is TERRORISM, SABOTAGE AND HIGH TREASON! A ten year sentence for this and for Rhino Mutilation is inappropriate. These TERRORISTS deserve Till Death Imprisonment - Not Life with colour TV imprisonment. Stop handling TERRORISM as if it is a minor R%Bn a year cable theft. These terrorists are frustrating the possibility of A Better Life For All! Security services in this New South Africa play dice with the future of our country.

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