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Innovative ways to deal with metal theft

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The City of Cape Town has been hard hit by utility infrastructure theft losing R30 million between July and December 2015.

Municipalities have a constitutional mandate to provide for services to communities it serves.

These services include Utilities (water, electricity, sewer and waste management), access and mobility, parks and recreation and other amenities.

It is a well reported fact that municipal infrastructure is being vandalised especially those consisting of metal and nonmetal of scrap value or salvageable value.

In a news report, the then Mayor of Cape Town (2007), Mrs. Helen Zille stated that the continuous theft of metal could bring Cape Town down as a tourist hub.

The same article stated that South Africa was exporting copper to China, while it had no copper mines. The effect of this is often seen and felt by commuters on the rail network with excessive delays due to cable theft.

There appears to be two types of metal theft, the organized syndicates and the petty thefts to make ends meet.

The focus of this paper is not to look at the syndicates that operate within South Africa as this requires a huge amount of intelligence.

It rather focuses on the quick wins of getting to the sporadic removal or thieving of metal objects that has as much a dire consequence of society as the syndicated operations.

Most is based on experience working in these communities and successes we had in curbing and addressing the problems.

Download technical paper here. 

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