BCM’s cable theft and vandalism woes

The recent vandalism at East London beachfront added to the Municipality’s headache and a national crisis. However, a proposed ban on scrap metals offers a silver lining.

The country is facing a rampant crime of cable and copper theft. The Buffalo City Metro recently suffered a blow to their infrastructure when the Eastern Beach became a target for an act of cable theft and vandalism. The Municipality released a statement addressing their concerns regarding the cable theft and vandalism in the metro.

BCM to increase patrol after cable theft and vandalism at Eastern Beach.

“We have received the information about the damages to the Eastern Beach and from our preliminary observations, this looks like an organized team, to have dug up and removed so much during night time,” the Municipality said in a statement.

The Municipality says this destruction of poles, pavements and other supports for transmission leads to widespread loss of electricity. “Our law enforcement, working with the South African Police Services will increase their patrol in these areas. But it’s equally important that we deal with the root cause of this problem,” said the statement. They continued, “Theft and vandalism is a major problem throughout the Municipality, and this has serious implications for service delivery.”

This happens at the wake of the proposed ban of scrap metals to combat cable theft in the country. Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel has published proposals in the Government Gazette, titled, ‘Draft policy proposals on measures to restrict and regulate trade in ferrous and non-ferrous metals waste, scrap, and semi-finished ferrous and non-ferrous metal products to limit damage to infrastructure and the economy.’

The proposed interventions would be introduced overtime and in three phases. These phases include:

• Enhanced registration conditions for dealers in scrap and semi-finished metals

• Enforcement of the registration requirement for sellers of scrap and semi-finished metals

• Input-output reporting

• Tight restrictions on who can sell copper scrap and semi-finished copper metal

• Restrictions on the import of furnaces and scrap transformation machines

• Enhanced border control

• Prohibiting the use of cash

The Municipality believes taking this step will reinforce their own local interventions aimed at protecting public assets and make the theft of their cables and other metals less lucrative. “Our other interventions include installing CCTV cameras and raiding scrap metal dealers,” they said.

“According to the CCTV Master plan, all buildings and BCMM Premises and Infrastructure will be monitored by CCTV, and this process is underway,” said the statement.

The Municipality calls on the business community to partner with them and bolster their efforts to deal with the criminality enabled by scrap dealers buying stolen scrap metal.

The government urged members of the public to submit their comments on the proposals within 21 days from the date of the Government Gazette (August 5) to the Director-General of Trade, Industry and Competition.