Drakenstein Municipality: In just one month, Drakenstein Municipality suffered significant losses due to scrap metal theft, with stolen infrastructure exceeding half a million rand in value during August. This surge in theft, a trend seen over the past year, poses a substantial financial burden on the municipality.
Scrap Metal Theft Costs Drakenstein Municipality Millions Annually
The thefts primarily target municipal properties and essential infrastructure, including manhole covers, faucets, cables, copper pipes, and road signs. The municipality grapples with daily disappearances of these crucial components.
Collaborative Efforts to Combat Theft
Gerald Esau, Director of Community Services at the municipality, revealed ongoing efforts to combat cable theft. Multi-disciplinary team meetings are frequently organized to address this issue, involving various stakeholders such as the South African Police Service, the Non-Ferrous Metals Unit, PRASA (rail authority), Transnet, and local security firms. These collaborative efforts have led to several arrests, thanks in part to community support.
Technology and Vigilance
To deter theft and safeguard assets, technology is employed to monitor high-risk areas during operational hours. Additionally, the municipality’s law enforcement division conducts regular patrols at municipal sites, sewerage plants, and buildings. These patrols, often based on community tips, also occur during Eskom load shedding periods.
Reported Incidents and Public Support
Cable theft remains a persistent issue, with 118 reported cases from January to October 2023. The municipality encourages the public to report cable theft incidents at all hours by contacting 021 807 8508. Public vigilance and cooperation are crucial in the ongoing battle against scrap metal theft.