Cable theft is crippling the country

Cable theft is crippling the country

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GK CRONJE

10 August 2022

The 51 000 job losses in the first quarter of 2022 is testament to how local business and the economy has been crippled.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has voiced their concern that officials are increasingly being implicated in cable theft. More than ever, Eskom employees and SAPS officers, as well as owners of scrapyards, are being investigated as part of an organizec cable theft syndicate in Mpumalanga. During the course of last week, a detective from eMalahleni, and a former Eskom employee were among four people arrested for the possession of chrome worth R60 000, which was presumably stolen.

Allegedly, a SAPS vehicle was used to transport the chrome. In July 2022, four scrapyard owners from Middelburg and eMalahleni were arrested when R200 000 worth of Eskom stolen property, which includes cables, pylons and copper, were found in their respective scrapyards. In March 2022, Eskom security officers and a police officer were among 14 arrested by the Hawks in eMalahleni when a large amount of cables were confiscated.

Cable theft sets back the South African taxpayer R7 billion a year. Not only does it disrupt the supply of electricity, but it also has a significant effect on the economy, resulting in loss of income and job losses. At this stage, Mpumalanga cannot afford to lose any more jobs. The 51 000 job losses in the first quarter of 2022 is testament to how local business and the economy has been crippled.

The DA has called on law enforcement to thoroughly investigate the syndicate and, in accordance with the Second Hand Goods Act, ensure a maximum sentence to those who are found guilty of cable theft.