Cable thieves and vandals left a deep hole in the City of Cape Town’s pockets last year, costing the city just over R9 million.

In a space of just six months, between July and December 2015, the City of Cape Town’s Electricity Services Department reported the second highest losses, with stolen or vandalised equipment costs totalling R9 165 775.

The Water and Sanitation Department recorded the worst loss R17 295 345 incurred through stolen water meters, water meter covers, and stolen or damaged manhole covers.

“The cost of this theft is not limited to repairing or replacing the infrastructure,”Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Ernest Sonnenberg, said. “In the case of our electricity network, theft also causes repeated blackouts, which affects local business and industry.”

The city said it’s working hard to curb incidents of theft and vandalism, performing, among other things, 618 inspections of scrapyards and bucket shops.

It has also amended its Criminal Matters Act to create stricter provisions for the granting of bail and harsher punishments for those who willfully damage, tamper with, or steal essential infrastructure which may interfere with the provision of basic public services.

Additionally, the city has urged residents to assist by reporting theft or damage of public infrastructure to the City’s Metals Theft Unit.

[Source – City of Cape Town]