Silence allows the plunder: iLIVE

22 July 2013 - 02:02 By Alec Galanakis, Bordeaux
A scrap metal yard in Mthatha. While many scrap yards are legal operations, there are others that purchase items stolen from infrastructure, and this places a heavier burden on taxpayers, who fund replacement
A scrap metal yard in Mthatha. While many scrap yards are legal operations, there are others that purchase items stolen from infrastructure, and this places a heavier burden on taxpayers, who fund replacement
Image: ALON SKUY

I would like to add to the call for an important conversation regarding the article "Why are we so quiet about being stripped naked?" (July 16).

I believe we all, as members of our community, need to play a more active part.

It is important to put a rand value on the theft of infrastructure so communities understand the implications, namely the massive replacement costs we all bear.

I suggest something similar to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which monitors the theft of copper on a monthly basis.

It is time all infrastructure items that have been stolen or damaged were consistently reported to the police and monitored, as has been done with copper.

Copper theft has gradually declined since it has been actively monitored.

What we don't measure, we cannot manage.

The Second-Hand Goods Act is a useful piece of legislation to prevent the stripping of infrastructure, but only if it is effectively implemented.

As the opinion piece pointed out, it appears to be ineffective. It is ineffective because, like so many of our laws, it is poorly executed.

The problem really lies with unscrupulous and often illegal scrap dealers, and this is where the law needs to be adhered to. The Second-Hand Goods Act makes provision for this if it is implemented properly.

Local communities need to ensure all scrapyards are properly registered and comply with the act.

All goods bought by the scrap yards must be registered and accurate details of the person selling the products must be recorded.

I propose we go one step further - that all goods are not only physically recorded, but every item be photographed.

Community members need to get more involved and not ignore theft and damage in their neighbourhoods.

Keep ward councillors informed and accountable for follow-up of all infrastructure theft. Incidences of theft must be publicised by the press and those prosecuted for the theft must be named and shamed.

Our heritage and communities will be desecrated if we don't work together to stop the plunder.

subscribe