The theft of high-powered cables in Manenberg has reached a crisis point.
This is according to Manenberg SAPS spokesperson, Captain Ian Bennett.
He said the situation is so bad, that cables are being stolen almost as soon as it is replaced.
He added that not having electricity in the area also leads to other opportunistic crimes, such as robberies.
“It has become unbearable for the community as they are under attack from within. Their critical infrastructure is being destroyed and stolen by members of their community. The high-powered voltage cables are dug up and severed while live high power voltage runs through it. This is highly dangerous for the perpetrator as well as the innocent residents of Manenberg. The lack of electricity also cripples the work of non-government organisations (NGOs) and schools,” Captain Bennett said.
The mayoral committee member for energy and climate change, Beverley van Reenen, said the City of Cape Town has spent more than R2 million over the past four months on replacing or repairing infrastructure damaged by vandalism and theft in the Vanguard district, which includes Manenberg.
Brigadier Sanele Zama, Manenberg SAPS station commander, said this is a serious attack on the community’s safety. He has called on the community to report these matters and committed to more visible policing in the area.
“It takes a while before the cables are replaced. When the City of Cape Town workers come to repair the damages, they are often attacked and robbed of their personal belongings. This behaviour will not be tolerated. Manenberg SAPS management calls on the community to report cable theft timeously, as this critical infrastructure provides more than just electricity to homes,” Brigadier Zama said.
The Manenberg Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Pastor Vernon Visagie, said the situation is “really bad”, but that there are certain things that make it a challenge for residents to report crime.
“It’s not just the cables. The drain covers are stolen. The street lights are out. We are sitting with a huge problem. These thefts are done by drug addicts who need to feed their habit, and the illegal scrap dealers perpetuate the situation.
“Some of the challenges the community face when it comes to reporting these criminal acts include not having airtime. The poverty levels are high. For many, the police station is also too far to walk to. The neighbourhood watches, however, are doing a fantastic job. They are the ones who alert the authorities,” Mr Visagie said.
Anyone with information can contact Manenberg SAPS at 021 699 9400 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.