Saturday, June 23, 2007

A scrap dealer and council staff arrested for copper theft

By Odette Ismail
22 July 2007

Police have arrested a major scrap merchant and two municipal employees in Parow in connection with stealing several thousand rands’ worth of Council cables and drain covers.

This arrest followed just hours after a high-level summit on copper cable theft hosted by the City of Cape Town.

It is believed that the scrap merchant who was arrested attended the summit where Mayor Helen Zille was appealing to the industry to get rid of dealers trading in stolen metals.

Councillor Pieter van Dalen, head of the City’s cable theft task team says the City and SAPS have adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ approach. “We aim to hit at the very heart of this scourge which is undermining municipal service delivery. “says van Dalen.

A statement reveals that task team investigators recovered 70 metres of copper cable weighing 625kg, water metres and other council equipment. The value of these stolen items is estimated at R73 000.

“The scrap yard owners were not able to explain how they came to be in possession of the goods, nor were they able to produce documentation of their purchase.” says van Dalen.

Further investigations traced water meters bought by a scrap metal trader in Stikland and over a ton of drain covers and metal frames were found worth R30 000 on the premises.

The equipment was then traced back to the Council’s Water Services depot in Bellville where two Council staff members confessed to theft. Further arrests are expected.

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