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Cable theft in South Africa

Elsewhere in the world, the term “Cable Theft” refers to illegally having acess or watching TV channels that you have not paid for.

In South Africa, it refers to the actual theft of copper cable, insulation and even manhole covers. The copper is then sold to scrap yards and melted down.

South Africa is actually exporting copper to China, although we do not have any copper mines 🙂 R77-million worth last year ($10.5-M)

The theft of these cables causes massive blackouts and brings trains to a halt regularly.

” Nationally, it costs an estimated R500-million to replace stolen cables every year and R2,5-billion in knock-on losses, including the impact of power outages and commuters being late for work when trains don’t work.

Schuitmaker cited the example of some businesses being without a fixed telephone line for six months. As soon as Telkom, the telecommunications company, came to replace the cables they were stolen again, he said.

Electricity was restored on Tuesday to tens of thousands of households near Johannesburg after nearly a week in darkness caused by a fire at a substation – believed to be the result of cable theft.

The poor Cape Town suburb of Manenburg was also without electricity for three days recently because of cable theft, in a pattern regularly repeated across the country.”

You can read more here.