At a time when Telkom, a parastatal, is complaining of headline earnings loss, it is reported that the theft of copper cable is now costing the South African economy about R5-billion a year and Telkom about R1-billion.
Eskom and Transnet are also suffering significant losses. It is also known that South Africa, which has minimal copper reserves, exports about 3 000 t of copper a month. Occasionally, Telkom promises to install wireless telephone connections where this is possible but this is rarely implemented. Employees say it would threaten their jobs.
Well, a failing economy threatens everyone’s job. Banning the export of copper would put a stop to the big business element in theft. Tracking down where the copper cable is being reprocessed should be made a priority. Naming and shaming and closing those scrap yards involved would discourage others, but who owns these? This is a highly lucrative business. Remove the demand. The Minister of Mineral Resources should look into this.
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