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Cable thieves strike again

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“Our electricians are busy reconnecting the affected areas that are being targeted daily”

RESIDENTS in Cassandra and Ernestville have been left without electricity once again after thieves stole copper cables in the area.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that the electricity supply was disrupted early yesterday morning as a result of the theft.

“Our electricians are busy reconnecting the affected areas that are being targeted daily,” he stated.

Matsie added that the municipality’s security personnel had been conducting patrols in an attempt to curb the thefts, “and these will be increased”.

“We call on law enforcement agencies to charge these criminals with the destruction of essential infrastructure act which is now a criminal offence with harsh sentences.”

A resident in the area said that he had heard a disturbance in the early hours of the morning.

“I was woken up at around 3am by the sound of someone pushing what sounded like a shopping trolley in Samaria Road. I thought it strange that someone would be pushing a trolley in the street at that time … when I got up I found that the lights were out. I should have gone to take a look, but these days a person is too scared to go out at night,” said the resident.

Ongoing cable theft has become a nightmare in the area and is taking a severe financial toll on the already cash-strapped municipality, while residents and businesses have also been suffering.

The Gum Tree Lodge in particular was hit hard recently when it suffered close to 72 hours without power due to cable theft.

On that occasion 25 metres of MV cable was initially stolen. The cable was no sooner replaced when it was stolen again and had to be replaced.

A pensioner living in Cassandra spoke about the personal financial cost of the frequent power outages.

“Food is so expensive. Now the little that I could afford, which I had in my freezer, is going to spoil. I don’t have a car to drive to the supermarket every day to buy something to eat. And now I can’t even keep my milk refrigerated, which means that it is also going to go sour.”

Residents in the area have called for action from the authorities and more visible policing.

“This is the third incident in less than a month around Cassandra,” one resident pointed out. “The Gum Tree Lodge has had more dark days this month than days with electricity. It is getting ridiculous.”

“Why are the police not monitoring the scrap dealers who are buying this stolen wire? These thieves have to be unloading it somewhere. If there wasn’t a market for it, they would not be stealing it,” said another frustrated resident.