COPPER THIEVES COST SOUTH AFRICA BILLIONS
By: Zimasa Matiwane
Five men were arrested in possession of 80kg stolen copper with a street value of R50 000 in Newcastle on Wednesday.
The suspects aged between 19 and 25 were charged by members of the Newcastle K9 Unit for theft.
KZN police Spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said, “The suspects were unsuccessful in disposing of the stolen copper as police who were patrolling the area tackled them before they could dispose of their loot.”
According to SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Neren Rau, copper theft if estimated to cost the economy more than R7 billion a year and affects telecommunications, railway lines and traffic lights.
KZN Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni commended the members for the swift arrest of the suspects. “The theft of cables in this province is a problem that is being dealt with through a joint partnership between various role-players. We are pleased that yet another group of suspects have been arrested,” she said.
The suspects are expected to appear in the Newcastle Magistrates Court on Friday 13 June 2014.