Cape Town – An alleged cable thief who tampered with railway power lines was electrocuted and burnt beyond recognition.
Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott confirmed the incident, which occurred at the Langa railway station at the weekend, and referred queries to the police.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said a death inquest case had been registered and the circumstances surrounding the matter were being investigated.
United Commuters Voice (UCV) spokesperson João Jardim said: “We are saddened that there seems to be no end to this vandalism and worse still is that the people paid to protect the infrastructure are the ones either engaged or giving information, or turning a blind eye, all for a monetary reward.”
This comes as the Drakenstein Municipality said it was working with law enforcement agencies and farm watches to combat the increasing cable theft at Drakenstein. The Drakenstein Municipality says it had been forced to find alternative solutions “because repairs have become costly and dangerous for municipal staff”.
Drakenstein Municipality spokesperson Riana Geldenhuys said South Africa was experiencing a rapid increase in cable theft.
“It is a crime affecting everyone, as it has an impact on the delivery of crucial services – primarily the provision of electricity, public transport, and telephone and internet services.”
Geldenhuys said power outages, often caused by cable theft, could lead to an increase in crime as properties were more vulnerable.
She said it diverted resources that could have been better utilised elsewhere.
“In 2019, in Van der Stel Street, in Paarl – one of the more recent examples – thieves stole the new copper cables less than a week after they were replaced. They also robbed Drakenstein Municipality’s technicians in broad daylight, while they were repairing the damaged infrastructure,” Geldenhuys said.
She said it was decided that to be able to conduct repairs and address cable theft, all copper cables would be replaced by aluminium cables, as had been done in Vlakkeland, on Jan van Riebeeck Road.
“This led to a steep decline in cable theft,” added Geldenhuys.
protect the infrastructure are the ones either engaged or giving information or turning a blind eye, all for monetary reward.”