Moot Cable thieves a concern

Solly Msimanga.

The menace of cable theft in the Moot is to be tackled with new vigour as the metro declared war on the culprits.

Ward 1 councillor, Elma Nel, said cable theft was of great concern in her ward.

She said thieves recently struck on the corner of 4th Avenue and Malherbe Street.

Quiet streets were also targeted, she said

The metro said last week it was now offering a standing R10 000 for information that could lead to the arrest of cable thieves.

Mayor Solly Msimanga announced the reward on Thursday as part of a concerted drive to root out cable theft.

He said this crime jeopardised the reliable provision of services to communities across the metro.

ALSO READ: Silverton cable theft a huge problem

Cable theft was flourishing because there was a market for the stolen commodity.

“We cannot, therefore, target only those that steal cables but we have to know where the material ends up.”

Cable theft cost the city about R5 million a month.

“Buyers have a responsibility to ensure that the material they are buying is not stolen property by insisting on the relevant documentation to see where the cable came from,” said the mayor.

“Often, we find that the buyers are in cahoots with the thieves as they buy from them at below the market price.”

Msimanga warned those buying such stolen property that they would face the full might of the law.

The metro has also established an anti-cable theft unit to focus on this kind of crime.

The anti-cable theft unit’s mandate was to have proactive and reactive interventions at electrical substations, cable trenches, and main feeders.

ALSO READ: Capital Park sees a decrease in cable theft

The unit also targeted operations at second-hand dealers in order to curb the sale of stolen nonferrous metals.

The mayor said the metro police had made significant strides in the recent past to curb cable theft.

Residents should, however, also become active agents and report such crimes in their areas.

Nel lauded the sector policing in her ward for clamping down on thieves.

“The moment a cable thief cuts cables, they are immediately caught,” she said.

“However, cable theft still causes damage and is an unnecessary expense in the ward.”

Elmarie Linde from ward 54 said cable theft was largely under control in her ward.

“On the border of ward 54 and 53, there have been two cases of cable theft in three weeks,” she said.

She said residents sometimes experienced cable theft in Wonderboom South, close to the mountain.

ALSO READ: Man in dock for cable theft

Some residents have taken it upon themselves to apply grease to the poles of streetlights, making it difficult for thieves to scale the pillars.

“This seems to keep cable thieves away,” said Linde.

“They did the same in 15 th Avenue about four years ago and there has never been another attempt at cable theft since.”

Linde also expressed her concerns over cable theft.

“Cable theft is dangerous. Where the cable is cut, there are usually live wires hanging loosely,” she said.

Ward councillors from ward 53 and 52, Juanita du Plooy and Frans Smit said they had not recently experienced cable theft.

A project was launched in June in the Moot and west of Pretoria to curb cable theft in Es’kia Mphahlele Drive.

This entailed the installation of streetlights made of cement, which could not be cut open to get access to power cables.

Solly Msimanga.

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  AUTHOR
Kayla van Petegem

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