The Acting Chief Civil and Transport Engineering Service Officer, Khumo Manyathelo, said cables amounting to P90 000 have been stolen from the council, including the transformers installed by the Botswana Power Cooperation.
Citing the most affected places, Manyathelo said in Broadhurst at Tsholofelo cable almost 5km long were stolen.
He said he was amazed that the thief used an excavator, JCB, adding that along the A1 Highway, near DIS offices in Sebele, cables in about 10 street light poles were stolen. “The cables are fiber glass. We had thought of the driver’s safety when they get involved in accidents. These are people who know electricity very well because they are able to switch off high voltage power,” he said, adding that the thieves knew what they were doing.
Manyathelo further said A1Highway is a busy road and some people must have seen the theft taking place. He said the public must know that the infrastructure belongs to them and must report such incidents.
He explained that theft is now rampant and is entering the Block 9 area.
Bontleng was mentioned as the worst affected place.
“We replace the cables but they still come back to steal,” he said.
Manyathelo urged the closure of the scrap market dealers and advised that allocating land (plots) to the public must be done immediately to prevent the thieves from getting the opportunity to steal.
“Once we are done with the servicing of the land (sewages, roads, storm water drains) it is important that people be allocated plots so that any defect can be identified in time before the contractor is released,” said Manyathelo.
He explained that after one year of contract, the contractor is given a performance bond indicating that the infrastructure is functioning according to the plan.
“Then that is why we should allocate plots and test with the contractor present before they are released if everything is working accordingly,” said Manyathelo. He said once the contractor is released it remains the burden of the city council.
The Deputy Public Relations Officer (police), Dipheko Motube, confirmed that indeed the rate of cable theft is alarming.
“Although at the moment I do not have statistics, threatening cases of cable theft are spreading country wide,” he said, adding that thieves cut cables transporting electricity from the pole to the houses because they have copper. Motube said he encourages the use of other material other than copper to curb the crisis.