The estimated damage to the facility is around one million rand and the theft of the cables will have a massive impact on the community as the plant is currently not operating.
THREE Lesotho nationals have been arrested for cable theft from the Sol Plaatje Municipality’s wastewater treatment plant in Ritchie
Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said the three were arrested on Monday morning at a local scrap metal dealer where they were allegedly attempting to sell the copper cables.
“A case was registered with the police after the facility was vandalised over the weekend. This morning (Monday) the three were arrested while attempting to sell the copper cables,” said Matsie.
He added that the estimated damage to the facility is around one million rand. The theft of the cables will have a massive impact on the community as the plant is currently not operating.
“We will ensure that the suspects, whose presence in the country is subject to investigation, are prosecuted under the Destruction of Essential Infrastructure Act which offers severe punishment for such offences.”
According to Matsie, the plant already had technical constraints with the mechanical and electrical equipment and repair work was already in progress. “The cable theft will negatively impact the progress already made.”
He pointed out that cable theft was a huge problem for the municipality, especially with regards to pump and electrical sub-stations.
“This results in the sewage not being able to be pumped away to treatment works, resulting in sewerage blockages and electrical outages.”
Police spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock confirmed the arrests.
“The three male suspects are between the ages of 20 and 35 years old. They were arrested by the Frances Baard Cluster Task Team at a local scrap metal dealership in Kimberley,” said Kock.
“The police members were following up on information and made the arrest. The cables weighed 54 kilograms and are alleged to have been stolen from the Ritchie wastewater plant. The suspects are expected to appear in court soon.”