No clear evidence that scrap metal export ban is helping stop theft

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Even though there has some decline in theft, it cannot be exclusively attributed to the ban
Even though there has some decline in theft, it cannot be exclusively attributed to the ban
Photo: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg


The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) has said there is no solid evidence that the ban on the export of copper waste as well as scrap and semi-finished metals has been effective in curbing theft which that has caused immense damage to South Africa’s infrastructure and economy.

In November 2022, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel announced a ban which expires at the end of May. He said the damage caused by thieves who stripped cables from the likes of Eskom and Transnet deeply compromised energy supply, transport and job creation, and cost the economy R47 billion annually.

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