Manhole covers highly sought-after by crooks

05 October 2017 - 08:44
By Nashira Davids
The City of Cape Town shells out millions of rands every year to cover the costs of theft of of manhole covers‚ fire hydrants and water metres.
Image: iStock The City of Cape Town shells out millions of rands every year to cover the costs of theft of of manhole covers‚ fire hydrants and water metres.

The theft of manhole covers‚ fire hydrants and water metres costs the City of Cape Town millions of rands every year.

The city's Wayne Dyason said officers pulled over a suspicious-looking vehicle travelling in the direction of a scrap dealer.

"Beneath the pile of scrap‚ which appeared to be legal‚ the officers found about 500 pieces of shattered drain covers belonging to the City‚'' Dyason said.

"The theft of non-ferrous metals continues to have a debilitating effect on the City's operations and over the past two years more than R40-million has been lost due to the theft of manhole covers‚ fire hydrants and water meters.''

Earlier this year Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement that metal theft is a ''major problem'' in the city due to the growing demand of illegal trading circles.

"The illegal trade of metals costs the country between R5-billion and R7-billion a year‚'' De Lille said.

She issued a statement after amendments were made to the Second-Hand Goods Act‚ which extended the powers of law enforcement officials.

"This means that offices in the City's Metals Theft Unit now have the authority to do routine inspections and enter premises of registered dealers in order to investigate compliance with the Act‚ enter and conduct searches and seizures‚ and seal off premises at which second-hand goods are found in order to prevent the person from conducted business in contravention of the Act‚'' De Lille said.