Business owners in Kimberley, Northern Cape, have called on law enforcement agencies and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to deal harshly with cable thieves.
A number of businesses, including guest houses, mortuaries and industries, are counting the cost due to persistent cable theft in the city. The country is currently faced with persistent load shedding.
Business owner Freda Keyser, who owns a lodge on the outskirts of Kimberley CBD, is one of the business owners hardest hit by cable theft.
Keyser says the electrical substation, at a nearby Cassandra suburbia which supplies large parts of their area, has been hit several times by cable thieves and it has resulted in them losing income.
“We are actually affected a lot, most of our clients don’t want to stay in the dark so they come and ask for a refund. To also have permanent residents on the premises sometimes we are off three to four days and your time and yeah that affects me also because they’re still looking for another place to stay permanently, so business-wise when we off we lose a lot of money. With restaurant on premises, we have to throw away a lot of food because of long hours and times that it is off.”
Kimberley’s Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet says it has lost around R850 000 since January this year due to cable theft and the damage and vandalism to municipal infrastructure has reached crisis-point.
“The Sol Plaatje Municipality is hugely affected by cable theft. For this year only we have approximately spent R850 000 on cable theft alone and that usually affects service delivery especially businesses as well. For instance, last week and we have worked on streetlights in the local Galeshewe area and other areas within the Sol Plaatje area, already those streets lights were vandalised.”
— Sol Plaatje Municipality (@SolMunicipality) November 14, 2022
In the past three weeks, police in the Northern Cape have made several arrests in connection with vandalism and cable theft.
Meanwhile, NPA Northern Cape spokesperson says it has collaborated with various stakeholders to ensure the most effective coordinated responses to serious crimes including prosecutions.
“So as the NPA as well as the law enforcement agencies we sat down and we deliberated on issues such as those how can we be beef up the way we are fighting this essential infrastructure crimes.”
The community has also appealed for tougher measures against the perpetrators.
Sol Plaatje Municipality has in the past raised concern on the ongoing vandalism of municipal infrastructure and cable theft.