Cape Town – Law enforcement agencies have been granted an extension of powers, giving them the authority to conduct raids on second-hand goods dealers to ensure compliance and seal off errant businesses.The decision by Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko will significantly bolster municipal efforts to curb metal and cable theft in the implementation of the Second-Hand Goods Act, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement on Wednesday.The extension of powers in terms of the Second-Hand Goods Act was gazetted on Tuesday.The decision, she explained, meant the city's metal theft unit – commonly known as the Copperheads – now has the authority to do routine inspections and enter the premises of registered dealers in order to investigate compliance with the act.Gross inconvenienceIt also gives them authority to enter and conduct searches and seizures, and seal off premises at which second-hand goods are found in order to prevent a person from conducting business in contravention of the act."In addition, law enforcement officers will now have the power to execute warrants on properties," De Lille confirmed.Copper theft, especially the pilfering of electricity and train cables, results in gross inconvenience, she said."There is also a severe impact on the city's own operations, with more than R40m lost in two years due to metal theft where manhole covers, fire hydrants and water meters were stolen."Metal theft is a major problem in our city due the growing demand in illegal trading circles. The illegal trade of metals costs the country between R5bn and R7bn a year."Mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith said the move was "great news and cause for celebration".