Hawks working with SAPS to eradicate theft of electricity infrastructure

JOHANNESBURG – The Hawks have pinned their hopes on the success of a multi-agency task team to eradicate theft and vandalism of public infrastructure in Gauteng.

Gauteng Hawks head major general Ebrahim Kadwa spoke to Eyewitness News on the sidelines of the inaugural Johannesburg Energy Indaba on Tuesday.

Kadwa said one of the major challenges they were facing was that criminal syndicates involved in the destruction of public infrastructure served a multi-billion dollar international market, which they could not tackle alone.

The theft of electricity infrastructure has grown exponentially over the past five years, causing billions of rand worth of damage and leaving millions in the dark.

Kadwa said while this type of criminality was not unique to South Africa, Johannesburg was one of the hubs where it thrived the most.

“Their copper prices are good. So, this is also one of the magnets where you will find criminal enterprises that are specialising in the issue of vandalising essential infrastructure for the export market.”

Kadwa said they had combined resources with other law enforcement agencies including the police and the National Prosecuting Authority to deal with the issue.

R100M PRICE TAG ON SECURITY ANNUALLY

Joburg City Power said it was beefing up security at its facilities following theft and vandalism amounting to billions of rand over the years.

The entity currently spends R100 million on security annually.

Despite this, the municipal-owned company had to pay an additional R150 million to replace stolen copper cables over the past five years.

Its security head Sergeant Thela said the strategy was to deal with the criminality.

“We have adopted a five-pillar strategy; the first one we are looking at is reinforcing the security barriers and interventions that will also include target hardening and the second one looks at installing more cameras and the likes.”

Thela said in addition to this, they also wanted to have localised security contracting so that community members could participate in protecting public infrastructure.

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