Cape Town sees increase in cable theft

There has been an increase in cable theft in the Cape Metro.

Between July 2022 and the end of January 2023, the City  of Cape Town's Metal Theft Unit arrested 152 suspects, conducted 1 156 hotspot patrols and 1 487 inspections at scrapyards and bucket shops, and recovered hundreds of kilograms of metal, cables and other stolen infrastructure.

Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, said the increase coincides with increased higher stages of load-shedding.

‘’The theft of cables and other critical infrastructure is simply not letting up. Our Metal Theft unit has made dozens of arrests each month in this financial year to date. There was a downturn in December, which tracks, as many specialised units are redirected to assist with festive season priorities, but in January, again the number of arrests increased.’’ 

‘’While metal theft is a longstanding issue, there can be no question that the continued load-shedding, and particularly the higher stages and longer outages give criminals the space to do as they please. Not only are they able to operate under the cover of darkness, but where there is no power supply, cables and other electrified infrastructure are far more easily accessible,’’ he added.

The latest incident occurred this past Saturday, where officers arrested three suspects in Elsies River.

‘’They searched a light delivery vehicle in the vicinity of a scrapyard in the area, and found 15 pieces of high mast poles belonging to Prasa. The vehicle's occupants could not account for how they came to have the poles, and were arrested for the possession of stolen property, and also in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 18 of 2015,’’ said Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

Smith urged the public to report any acts of crime, vandalism or suspicious activity in progress to the City's Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.

The City also has a dedicated tip-off line where residents can report crime and by-law offences anonymously, 24-hours a day, on 0800 110077.

A reward of up to R5 000 is payable if the City's policing resources achieve an operational result that directly relates to information received, like (an) arrest/s, confiscation of contraband or illegal firearms or the recovery of stolen goods.


Done By: Mitchum George


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