Cable thieves were given some food for thought when a concerted effort by the Mossel Bay Municipality, the South African Revenue Protection Association and the SA Police to curb cable theft paid off recently and a thief of municipal property was arrested and charged.
Theft of electrical cables and related vandalism to equipment cost Mossel Bay ratepayers approximately R500 000 in the three months to the end of January 2012. Investigations are continuing and more arrests are expected in the near future.
To address the problem the Municipality engaged the services of an inspector of the SA Revenue Protection Association to help the Municipality with its investigations and strategies towards cable theft. He liaised with the Da Gamaskop Cluster Non-Ferrous Crime Combating Committee of the SA Police and presented a training session to members of this Committee. The session was also attended by municipal officials and other role players in Mossel Bay.
The arrest was made in connection with the theft of cables and components at the Grunter pump station of the Municipality in Extension 13, Mossel Bay. The stolen goods were traced to a local scrap dealer through whom the culprit could be traced.
“The Municipality suffers huge losses because of the theft of cables and other metal goods at sports fields, pump stations and distribution boxes. A large number of street light cables were also stolen in the past three months. The theft also often goes hand in hand with other forms of vandalism and damage.
“While we feel that good progress is being made and the SA Police has performed excellently with this first arrest, I cannot emphasise enough how important the co-operation of the public is in this regard.
“We therefore appeal to the public to report any suspicious behaviour or burglaries to the SA Police urgently. The sooner the Police can get to work, the better the chances are that the culprits can be arrested and charged,” said the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.
She said that it is important that the theft of cables and other metal goods from the Municipality is stopped. Apart from inconveniencing and endangering the public, the crime also has an impact on municipal rates and the cost of municipal service delivery as it costly to repair the damage caused by the criminals.
The public can also contact the Municipality at telephone (044) 606-5210 to report damage to municipal structures or if they have information that could lead to the arrest of cable thieves and other vandals.