Faizel Patel – 07/07/2020
A mining and energy advisor says the increase in cable theft in South Africa is commensurate with the increase poverty in the country.
Ted Blom was speaking to Radio Islam on Tuesday about the concerns of copper theft, which has affected many communities including in Lenasia.
Last week, hundreds of Alexandra residents were left without power for almost a week after a blaze broke out at a switching sub-station after copper cables were stolen.
Blom says the broad use of copper has increased the value of the metal, enticing poor communities, criminals and even scrapyards to illegally obtain it.
“People are just so desperate, that they have to scavenge for whatever they can find and try and turn it into money. It’s not improved by the fact that the lockdown for the virus has stopped all trade and just desperately hungry people tending the need to try and forage a living.”
Blom says there are no real solutions to replacing copper cables.
“There’s a possibility of looking at new styled technologies, but those aren’t mature enough to actually deploy in the market place. There are measures where the utility can put tamperproof devices on their infrastructure and get early warnings when tampering is about to start or has started.”
Blom says during his time on Eskom’s tender committees, he was told that “people” want the equipment stolen or destroyed because they get kickbacks from the sale of new equipment.
Listen to the interview with Ted Blom