The South African Police Association (SAPS) is intensifying its pursuit of criminals guilty of cable theft.
“Cable theft should be viewed as a serious crime which has potential to negatively impact our economic growth as a country. We cannot allow that, hence our declaration of war on izinyoka (cable thieves),” said Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Police.
The press release said second-hand metal dealers will be under the magnifying glass. The South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, also known as the Hawks, have been called into action to work with businesses to combat the crime.
“We want to see more and harsher convictions of these heartless criminals,” Mininsi Zweli, spokesperson of the SAPS told HumanIPO.
Training of police officers and detectives has taken place on a large scale. Out of the 21,100 national detectives, 17,314 are trained. A further 2,161 detectives are scheduled for training next year.
Considering arrests, 12 cases have been reported since April. Some of these are still in court.
“Geographically, it is a national challenge, from cities to townships, from farms to industrialized areas,” Zweli said.
Since May 2012, the Second-Hand Goods Act (Act No 6 of 2009) has been implemented. According to the law, any metal vendor is as guilty as the seller. Prison sentences can be up to 10 years long.
These statements follow the declaration in Parliament around two weeks ago that 2012 is the “year of detectives,” Zweli said.
Stolen cable metals include almost anything from piping and bolts to copper cables and manhole covers. Theft avoids optimal operation of rail transport, telecommunication and electricity.