The Tshwane anti cable theft launched by mayor Solly Msimanga seems to be paying off as the city records R500,ooo worth of corpers being recovered in less than a year.
Just during the Easter short break, the Tshwane anti cable theft unit made a remarkable achievement as it arrested 12 suspected cable thieves and recovered tons of copper valued at half a million rand.
The Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga made this announcement on Thursday, applauding the unit for a job well done.
Mayor Msimanga launched the special anti cable theft unit in October 2016 as part of his anti crime programme for the city. The mayor said the latest arrest made adds to the 67 others arrested for similar crimes since the anti-cable theft unit was established.
“The war on cable theft for the sole purpose of ensuring better services to the people of Tshwane is well under way and we thank all those members of our law enforcement agencies for often risking their lives in service to our people,” said the mayor.
We will not tolerate the human hand in the deliberate sabotage of our infrastructure that is already aged and in need of replacement and repairs, he added while pointing out that cable theft added to the workload on the municipality’s already strained infrastructure and that his administration will do its best to ensure that it is stopped.
Years before the 2016 local election that ushered in Solly Msimanga as Tshwane mayor, Tshwane metro police embarked on a mission to sweep the city clean of cable theft through its anti cable theft operation which saw the metro police retrieving cables worth over R12000.
At that time, the Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba announced the arrest of cable thieves aged between 36 and 41 years, who were on their way to the scrapyard before they were arrested.
The DA ward councillor Elma Nel at that time, commended the efforts made by the metro police saying their work was paying off as they followed leads given to them by residents. She however, appealed the Police to stretch their effort reaching beyond Pretoria to Gauteng.
In July 2014, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa promised to beef up security after 11 suburbs in Centurion disconnected from power supply for almost a week after copper cables were stolen from the Brakfontein substation, costing the metro R8 million to repair.
The capital city was also reported to have lost about R30m each year because of copper cable theft while several companies in the city reported losses of R15.4m to copper theft alone.
Meanwhile, mayor Msimanga commended the newly established Tshwane anti cable theft unit for beating records so far but charged them to intensify more effort in retrieving all stolen cables and arresting culprits.
He said cable theft not only robs “our people” of basic services, but also threatens the city’s opportunities for further investment in industrial areas, which need electricity services to conduct their business.
“The theft of cables has a knock-on effect and the stabilisation of our infrastructure is critical to our ends,” Msimanga added.
“Not only do cable thefts cost the City money, but they also result in service interruptions. The theft of power supply cables means residents are denied the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted services they are entitled to.
“We do not have all the answers to all the challenges we currently face and we are working around the clock to ensure that all the needs of our citizens are attended to across all communities in our city.”
Msimanga also encouraged residents to contact local authorities or the Tshwane anti cable theft unit if they saw or suspected any illicit behavior concerning cable theft.