The newly established anti-cable theft unit arrested 12 suspected cable thieves and recovered several tons of copper valued at more than half a million rand over the Easter weekend, Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga said on Thursday.
He said the weekend arrests were in addition to 67 other arrests for similar crimes made since the anti-cable theft unit was established in October 2016.
Msimanga said the unit was formed to deal with the high prevalence of theft of public infrastructure and cables in Tshwane.
“The war on cable theft for the sole purpose of ensuring better services to the people of Tshwane is well under way and we thank all those members of our law enforcement agencies for often risking their lives in service to our people,” said the mayor.
“We will not tolerate the human hand in the deliberate sabotage of our infrastructure that is already aged and in need of replacement and repairs.”
Msimanga said cable theft added to the workload on the already strained infrastructure. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that it is stopped.”
He said cable theft not only robs “our people” of basic services, but also threatens to harm opportunities for further investment in industrial areas, which need water and electricity services to conduct their business. Thriving industries provide employment.
“The theft of cables has a knock-on effect and the stabilisation of our infrastructure is critical to our ends,” Msimanga said.
“Not only do cable thefts cost the City money, but they also result in service interruptions. The theft of power supply cables means that residents are denied the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted services which they are entitled to.
“We do not have all the answers to all the challenges we currently face and we are working around the clock to ensure that all the needs of our citizens are attended to across all communities in our city.”
Msimanga encouraged residents to contact local authorities if they see or suspect any illicit behaviour concerning cable theft.