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Sun May 24 05:08:12 SAST 2015

Vandals 'are our enemies'

PHILANI NOMBEMBE | 11 February, 2013 08:31
Cape Town Executive Mayor Ptricia De Lille. File photo.
Image by: Halden Krog / Halden Krog

THE rising cost of replacing vandalised infrastructure is crippling Cape Town's service delivery efforts.

THE rising cost of replacing vandalised infrastructure is crippling Cape Town's service delivery efforts.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has revealed that the city has spent more than R128-million on fixing damaged traffic lights, replacing stolen electricity cables, removing graffiti and repairing cut water pipes, among other things, since the beginning of the financial year.

De Lille described the city's battle against vandalism as "painful" and labelled those behind it as "enemies".

"To frame this in a practical example, by September 2012, lights with a life of five years were fitted in Khayelitsha.

"However, within six months, only 35% of them are working because of illegal electricity connections and vandalism," said De Lille.

She said the city had spent more than R115-million on repairing vandalised sewers, about R7-million on water and sanitation infrastructure and about R6-million on electric cables and wiring.

She said Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu each accounted for spending of more than R1-million in vandalism-related repairs.

De Lille said vandalism had severe knock-on effects.

"Broken street lights might interrupt the safety grid of an area, a compromised water pipe affects different communities downstream and a blocked stormwater drain can cause serious damage to surrounding buildings.

"Sometimes it seems that for every step forward we take, we take two steps back. Every step back means that we divert funds from new infrastructure, thereby preventing increased service delivery."

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