For Immediate Release

17 July 2019

The eThekwini Municipality has a zero-tolerance approach against any theft of City infrastructure, particularly copper electricity cables. Their efforts to fight against this scourge was recently rewarded as a cable thief was sentenced to 15 years in prison. This was the first time such a conviction has been handed to an accused in Durban.

He was prosecuted under the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 18 of 2015, which came into effect in June 2016. It was designed to recognise the importance of essential infrastructure in providing basic services to the public. It also focuses on the high incidence of crime relating to essential infrastructure and its impact on public safety, electricity supply, communications and transportation.

The accused was caught by the neighbourhood watch patrols on 01 September 2017 at 01:30am with 500 metres of bare copper cable on Marianhill Road in Pinetown. It carries an estimated value of R27 400. The area had experienced a power outage as a result of the man cutting the cable. Residents then contacted the patrols and he was caught and handed over to the police. Prior to conviction, he was detained at Westville Prison, awaiting trial.

Barbara Cloete, Forensic Investigator from the Infrastructure Theft Department said: “This is a major victory for the City. It shows that we are serious about our approach and we will not tolerate any theft of infrastructure. This particular criminal act has a direct, negative impact on our residents as they are left without power for many hours.”

Cloete further stated the impact. “Cable theft is a major challenge as millions of Rands are lost. Business owners also suffer a great loss in production and profit while household consumers suffer damages to electrical appliances and food spoils. The dark and poorly lit roads can lead to fatalities and a guise for criminals to operate.”

Criminals are also warned that besides obtaining a jail sentence, cable theft is life-threatening. Residents are urged to report cable theft by contacting 0800 311 961.

ENDS

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela.

For more information contact 031 311 4820/18.