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Contractor nailed by Copperheads for cable theft

by City of Cape Town
on 14 Mar 2008
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

An electrical contractor employed by the City of Cape Town was caught stealing copper cabling early this morning (Friday, 14 March 2008) by the City's non-ferrous metal theft task team.

Also know as the Copperheads, the task team received a tip-off on its toll free hotline that copper cabling was being stripped during the early hours of this morning in Gumtree Way, Steenberg.

"Upon their arrival, the team found seven people in the act of stripping brand new copper cabling," says Cllr Pieter van Dalen, head of the Copperheads.

"One half of the cable drum worth about R100 000 had already been stripped while the other half was still intact. We were shocked to discover that the perpetrators included an electrical contractor employed by the City and six of his employees.

"What is even more deplorable is that the contractor is known as a pastor in his community and is thus supposed to be a fine, upstanding member of society," says Cllr van Dalen.

According to him, the City of Cape Town's standard policy and conditions of contract clearly stipulates that all leftover material has to be returned to the City. This includes damaged or redundant cabling - as this remains the property of the municipality and ultimately that of the ratepayer.

The seven men were arrested on the spot for theft and being in possession of stolen property. All City property found in his possession was confiscated and will now be used as evidence in the pending court case which is being handled by SAPS' detective branch in Steenberg.

"The City of Cape Town, and specifically the Copperheads, is spearheading a major clean-up operation in the non-ferrous metals industry. We intend to demonstrate our seriousness by sweeping in front of our own door as well.

"All City contractors and subcontractors can expect random visits from the Copperheads. We will not hesitate to deal with the criminal elements in the industry.

"The bottom line is that money wasted on cable theft could have been better used to extend services to those Cape Town residents who don't yet have electricity," says Cllr van Dalen.

Just a few days ago, the Copperheads recovered pieces of the bronze statue of two struggle activists that had been stolen from Athlone, and successfully tracked down the thieves.

Cllr van Dalen thanked the public for their information and urged them to continue reporting any suspicious activity to the toll free Cable Theft Hot Line on 0800 222 771.

END

MEDIA RELEASE
NO. 89/2008
14 MARCH 2008


ISSUED BY:
COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400 3719

MEDIA QUERIES:
COUNCILLOR PIETER VAN DALEN
CHAIRPERSON: COPPERHEADS TASK TEAM
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
CELL: 083 655 2203


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