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Eskom, City Power concerned about growing trend of cable theft in Gauteng

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The broad use of copper has increased the value of the metal, enticing criminals and scrapyards to illegally obtain it.

FILE: Copper cables. Picture: SAPS

JOHANNESBURG – An increase in cable theft in recent weeks has been a worrying trend, particularly in the Gauteng.

The broad use of copper has increased the value of the metal, enticing criminals and scrapyards to illegally obtain it.

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The theft of essential infrastructure has put a strain on power utilities like Eskom and Joburg’s City Power’s ability to provide electricity.

This comes after hundreds of Alexandra residents were left without power for almost a week after a blaze broke out at a switching sub-station.

With copper highly visible, poorly secured, and easy to steal, criminals have turned to stripping the metal to make a quick buck, leaving hundreds of residents in the dark and costing government billions in infrastructure.

Copper is extremely valuable, given its many useful properties, not to mention that it is endlessly recyclable.

However, mining and energy advisor Ted Blom said that the extent of copper theft was far more detrimental to our economy and society.

“It takes away a lot of people’s livelihoods, even in the townships. It’s also had a severe impact on our students, who won’t have electricity and lights to be able to study. The other danger is that power is a massive danger to people, they could be electrocuted. Anybody who walks over these lines or comes in contact with them could end up dead.”

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Blom said that the illicit trade of cooper often involved scrap dealers and police.

City Power said that it was prioritising the fight against copper theft but needed communities to report suspicious activity.

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