Cassandra residents believe that the police are not assisting them to bring the culprits to book.
RESIDENTS of Cassandra, Gumtree Lodge and Samaria Road are livid and have threatened to take the law into their own hands after another incident of cable theft was allegedly snubbed by the police on Tuesday night.
Residents were plunged into darkness on Monday and power was only restored on Tuesday afternoon after a stolen 102m medium-voltage cable was replaced by the Sol Plaatje Municipality.
On Tuesday night residents took it upon themselves to try and catch the cable thieves after spotting them digging on the same line, just a few meters from the area where the cable was replaced.
According to residents, four police vehicles arrived on the scene after they were called out on Tuesday night, but the officers “did not seem interested” to look for the thieves, take statements or gather the evidence that was left behind by the cable thieves when they fled the scene.
“They were too busy chatting among themselves. We even asked them to escort us to where we saw the thieves disappear to, but they were not interested and said it was too dark,” said one disappointed resident.
“We at least expected them to return for the evidence as the thieves had left their bags, knives and digging equipment, but they did not come.”
Another resident said the power was only reinstated at around 4pm on Tuesday and, at around 11pm, they heard trench digging along the same line.
“When we approached, they ran away and scattered into different directions,” she said.
“This is just a clear indication that we are on our own and should not depend on our police.
“I mean, we have been complaining and preaching about this for such a long time, and are now exhausted.
“Look what happened when we had the thieves on Monday after spotting them with the drone, but nothing happened.
“It seemed like they (the police) wanted them to get away.”
The Cassandra Neighbourhood Watch indicated that they have arranged a community meeting where they will map a way forward as to how they can protect themselves and their property.
The Kimberley police confirmed that a cable theft case was opened on Monday but said that no arrests had been made yet.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Dikeledi Gopane could not comment on the latest incident as she said she still had to gather information.
Local mining company Ekapa confirmed that part of a municipal power supply cable was removed in the Cassandra area, presumably early on Monday morning, in what is believed to be a case of cable theft.
According to Ekapa, although the cable runs through its property, between the sub-station close to Sally Aucamp Home in Cassandra and the transformer on the corner of Samaria and Boshof roads, it belongs to and remains the responsibility of the Sol Plaatje Municipality.
The spokesperson for Ekapa’s mining operations, Neil de Klerk, said it is suspected that cable thieves gained access to the power supply cable from the railway line by cutting fences.
De Klerk indicated that the mining operations were not affected by the incident.
“The company expresses its sympathy with the Cassandra community as businesses and residents are suffering because of crimes like these,” said De Klerk.
“Ekapa appeals to the Sol Plaatje Municipality and the South African Police Service to do everything in their power to prevent incidents like these and to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.
“The mine vows to continue to do everything in its power to assist the municipality in securing the cable as far as possible against theft, for instance by continuing to cover the line on the company’s property with large heaps of soil making it increasingly difficult to reach.”