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Copperheads find remains of struggle heroes statue

by BuaNews Online
on 10 Mar 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The City of Cape Towns Non-ferrous Metal Theft Task Team achieved a major breakthrough by finding pieces of the statue of struggle heroes, Robbie Waterwitch and Coline Williams.

This is the third breakthrough in three weeks by the task team also known as the Copperheads.

Mr Waterwitch and Miss Williams were members of Umkhonto weSizwe who allegedly died in a limpet mine explosion during the anti-voter campaign in 1989.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths remain unclear.

The task team and detectives of the South African Police Services (SAPS) on Friday swooped on the SA Metals scrap yard in Epping, after receiving information that pieces of the statue were on the premises.

They found 64 pieces of the sculpture, which was unveiled on Reconciliation Day, 16 December 2005, by then Executive Mayor of the City, Alderman Nomaindia Mfeketo.

According the Chairperson of the Copperheads, Councillor Pieter van Dalen, SA Metals suspected the metal was stolen and did not want to buy the pieces from another big scrap yard in Beaconvale.

The original statue by Guy du Toit in association with Egon Tania cost the City R330 000 in 2005.

"Executive Mayor Helen Zille asked the Copperheads to investigate the theft of the sculpture, which was stolen on 4 March from its pedestal opposite the Athlone Magistrate's Court.

"We immediately started a search, which led us to SA Metals in Epping. We found that the pieces were property of the City."

According to Cllr van Dalen, the nameplates are still there and SA Metals said they did not want to buy the scrap metal as they suspected it was stolen.

The matter is now in the hands of the SAPS. It is hoped that the investigation will lead to the arrest of the culprits who stole the sculpture.

"We will provide ongoing assistance to them to fully resolve this case.

"The scrap yard which bought the metal from the thieves will be part of the police investigation into the crime.

"We have retrieved 280 kilograms of the original 600 kilogram sculpture, which means there are still some pieces floating around," Cllr van Dalen said.

Cllr Van Dalen urged citizens to report information regarding this incident or any suspicious activity to the City's toll free Cable Theft Hot Line, 0800 222 771 or directly to him on 083 655 2203. - BuaNews

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