CT Metal Theft Unit given more powers

Mayor Patricia de Lille says metro officials will now be allowed to enter second hand shops and confiscate metals.

Exposed copper cable lines. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – The extended powers granted to the City of Cape Town's Metal Theft Unit will assist in clamping down illegal activities which have cost the city millions in recent years.

Mayor Patricia de Lille says cable and metal theft has affected all residents – including those who have been subjected to delays on Metrorail due to cable theft.

The metro says the theft of manhole covers, fire hydrants and water meters alone have cost the city more than R40 million in over two years.

De Lille says metro officials will now be allowed to enter second hand shops and confiscate metals if the owner cannot explain where it comes from.

“They will also be able to search these premises. We were not allowed to do this in the past, now we can work together with the police to crack down on hundreds of these so-called second hand shops where people sell the metal that they steal.”

She adds that some of the stolen goods are also taken out of the province.

“What happens is that once the copper is melted, they export it from the Western Cape and we don’t even have copper mines here.”