Dec 4, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Drones and micro-dotting proposed for fighting rampant copper theft

Gauteng is the number one victim of theft and vandalism of essential infrastructure.

This is according toGauteng Hawks CEO Maj Ebrahim Kadwa.

Kadwa spoke on the second day of the Joburg Energy Indaba, which was run by the city government to persuade Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to boost their coal baseload with cleaner, cheaper electricity.

The indaba comes at a time of power outages that threaten to cripple the country’s largest economic hub.

In his address on Tuesday, Kadwa said the insatiable demand for good copper is driving the price and hence theft in the height was increasing.

He said Gauteng was the main marketplace and hub for importing, smelting and exporting copper.

“We’ve had several high-profile cases with fines of around R7 million, but this isn’t B’s for the syndicates Importance [so enormous are their profits].

“Corruption and complicity are the country’s fourth-stage cancers.

“We now find that Eskom [Energy] vending machines have been stolen… R600 million of electricity has been sold without Eskom or the energy sector getting the money – that’s just one syndicate.”

He said legitimate companies are often used as a cover for infrastructure crime, mixing stolen copper with legitimate copper and selling it in the international market.< /span>

Customs declarations were often rigged to sell extra copper and declare it as steel pipe.

Kadwa said the use of microdots in infrastructure — by even identifying where the metal came from when smelted — and using drones at night — were two plans the city was considering to salvage its vulnerable infrastructure.

On Monday, Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse that R26 billion is needed to upgrade City’s infrastructure Power to repair, but the total capital budget is R7.7 billion, which includes not only electricity but also other infrastructure such as water and R loads.

Environmental and infrastructure services MMC Michael Sun added that load shedding has cost the country between R60 billion and R120 billion since it was introduced in February this year.

In Johannesburg, cable theft and infrastructure sabotage add to municipal problems.

Concluding In his speech, Phalatse said, to illustrate the scale of the problem, City Power had 1,770 cable thefts in the current fiscal year and Incidents of vandalism were recorded.

< span>This cost City Power nearly R23 million in direct losses.

“These figures do not include indirect losses such as lost revenue from unused energy and the larger economic losses suffered by consumers and businesses.

The city is working with Crime Intelligence and the Hawks, who are coordinating at the local level with the group’s forensic investigation service, which works with the Joburg Metro Police Department.

“The JMPD is in an advanced stage of forming a specialized patrol unit that will focus on economic infrastructure and illegal mining,” Phalatse said.