All the authorities that are meant to protect residents from the economic and security risks of unchecked cable theft are currently failing the residents of Merafong.
The DA in Merafong has been working hard since April this year to get the authorities to collaborate in a “whole of society” approach to curb infrastructure theft and vandalism.
We met with senior South African Police Service (SAPS) officials to find out exactly how they want these crimes reported. We then received their undertaking to support our initiatives and to respond accordingly. We also met with the Executive Mayor, Nuzoko Best who undertook the cause to have the Municipal Manager (MM), Siyathemba Mdletetshe make statements to SAPS for every cable theft incident. We are grateful to residents who have responded to our calls by reporting their case numbers to us for tracking.
Sadly though, our infrastructure in Merafong is being stolen right under the noses of an unresponsive municipality and SAPS. Merafong has already had three municipal managers in the last two months. Such instability and uncertainty are bad for staff morale.
At the start of our campaign, SAPS reported at a local Community Police Forum (CPF) meeting that it appears as if all these efforts from various role players in our community are yielding results. However, the lethal combination of never-ending load shedding, an increase in food and fuel costs, and a shortage of jobs have created fertile ground for large cable theft syndicates to flourish. Recent nightly incidents include Greenspark, where residents disrupted the theft and kept guard over the cable.
The Silver Street and Impala Street substations were vandalised on the 28th of November, and every morning, lists of incidents from Welverdiend are shared on various CPF groups. The Municipality is now worried that they will not have the money to pay for cable to get Welverdiend powered up again. At the time of writing, large swaths of Oberholzer are without power and both Eureka Park and Senatus retirement villages are also in the dark.
The DA in Merafong will now escalate our efforts and will take the following steps:
• At every CPF meeting, our councillors will require a full report back from SAPS.
• We will ask for a full report on each of the cases we are tracking from the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety.
• We will provide feedback to our residents and answers from these authorities on all our communications platforms.
Our DA ward councillors are inundated with complaints daily and we will continue to report cases and give feedback to the community, but the situation is dire.
In the meantime, residents are reminded to keep a vigilant lookout in their communities and report any incidences immediately to SAPS so that a case number can be dropped here for us to track.
The DA will continue to put pressure on SAPS and Merafong Municipality while we enjoin the Provincial Government. It is no excuse that cable theft is rampant everywhere in the province. Action is now required.
Please report any cases of cable theft here- https://www.da.org.za/lets-disrupt-cable-theft-in-merafong-we-need-your-help