Minister Mthethwa calls on police to intensify war on cable theft
20 Nov 2012
The war on cable theft is being intensified across the country and through the training of designated Second-Hand Goods police officers that is currently underway, this will ensure that police not only arrest those who break the law, but equally secure harsher convictions in court.
This is a view expressed by the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa today while responding to a Parliamentary question on how police are dealing with cases of cable theft and whether any arrests are being effected.
“Cable theft should be viewed as a serious crime which has potential to negatively impact our economic growth as a country. We cannot allow that, hence our declaration of war on izinyoka (cable thieves). The incidents reported often involve thefts from Spoornet of metres and cabling, theft of municipal metres and cabling, theft of cables and transformers from Eskom as well as cases of theft of wire from private farms.”
“These cases are difficult to address unless the suspect is caught in the act or there are witnesses. However there is now a closer scrutiny of second hand metal dealers and intensified investigations by our detective division and where applicable, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations otherwise known as the Hawks,” stated the Minister.
Amongst the measures currently being implemented by the South African Police Service to address cable theft, they include crime prevention patrols by visible police and engagements with role-players through formal localised structures. To this end, a Non Ferrous Metal Committee at a national level of a involving both business and other government departments have been established.
In May this year, the Second-Hand Goods Act, 2009 (Act No 6 of 2009) came into effect. In essence, the Act stipulates that any person who buys a stolen good, including cables is as guilty as the person who stole the goods. If an unscrupulous dealer is found guilty, a court may impose a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
The review of the Act was informed by a lot of challenges, dynamics and the growth of the industry which became vulnerable and a major property crime generator. The Act also makes specific provisions for the accreditation aspect of the industry dealers, associations and equally the compliance monitoring as well.
Cable theft in South Africa is rampant, with an estimated of R5 billion per annum lost due to the theft. The stolen metals range from copper cables, piping, bolts to manhole covers. The theft continuously disrupts and degrades services, such as rail transport system, the power supply provided by Eskom and the telecommunication services by Telkom SA amongst others.
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Issued by: South African Police Service
20 Nov 2012
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