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‘Shocking’ cable theft stats point to bid to destabilise city: Msimanga

12 April 2018 - 16:51 By Penwell Dlamini
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

There have been more than 1‚000 incidents of cable theft in the City of Tshwane since November last year‚ which mayor Solly Msimanga indicates is an “active attempt to destabilise the city’s administration”.

Delivering his state of the capital address on Thursday‚ Msimanga said that while the capital is not a producer of copper‚ it seems to be the largest marketplace for the trade in copper.

“The incidents of cable theft are shocking‚ to say the least. From November 2017 to date‚ the city has experienced at least 1‚498 instances of cable theft and vandalism‚ in some regions far worse than in others‚” he said.

Another big challenge was that cable theft led to power outages and cost the city a lot of money to replace stolen infrastructure.

“It is because of all these power outages owing to cable theft that I will on Tuesday be meeting with the executive mayor of Johannesburg as well as the executive mayor of Ekurhuleni so that we may find a coordinated manner in which to deal with the scourge of cable theft that has befallen our metro municipalities‚” he said.

Msimanga added that cable theft hampers the sustainable provision of services such as transport‚ communication‚ water and electricity.

“It affects the quality of life of residents and hampers local economic development as well. There are well-organised criminal syndicates operating throughout the country. The syndicates target the electrical networks of major infrastructure such as railway networks‚ electrical substations and water-treatment plants.

“Our assessment of these incidents in Tshwane indicates that there is an active attempt to destabilise the city’s administration.”

The Tshwane Metro Police Department has a cable theft unit but Msimanga said it is “under increasing pressure”.

“The City of Tshwane loses millions a year to cable theft and there seems to be no coordinated plan by law-enforcement agencies at national level to deal decisively with this issue‚ although policing of this nature falls squarely within their ambit as required by the constitution.”