159 cable thefts every day  

A WITNESS investigation can reveal that there were 58 000 major cable thefts in the country last year, and rising — a problem so large that the South African Bureau of Standards is drafting rules for the laser tagging of all new power lines.
Meanwhile, the new law that was supposed to boost convictions of criminal scrapyard staff has generated only 370 convictions out of 1 300 prosecution efforts since its launch in May 2012.

How KZN’s ‘big cable’ syndicates were caught

ON a cloudless night, a single lightning flash lights up the skies of Hibberdene.A moment after a man yanks on a long rope — connected to a bolt cutter dangling four metres above the railway line — the 11 000 volts of the green flame melts the soil between the sleepers into a kind of clay.

'How I stole the cable that stopped your trains '
A SYNDICATE cable thief has told The Witness how scrap dealers paid him for stripping KwaZulu-Natal’s infrastructure at N2 petrol stations.

Copper heists change how we live

CARL Petzer, an entrepreneur in Durban, has changed to using gas for cooking at his home because he cannot trust the power supply “in a cable theft environment”.At his Glenwood IT company, Thusa, he has paid R110 000 for surge protection, an Untinterruptible Power Supply (UPS) device and a generator at his office as the costs of electricity outages mount.

The cable-theft menace’s exploding cost

EVERY day, a dozen suburbs in KwaZulu-Natal are paralysed by a hidden menace.The story is brought home by events on a series of randomly selected recent days in South Africa.

How SA is losing the cable gang war

SOUTH Africa’s co-ordinated effort to stop cable theft has “fallen apart”, with conviction rates falling below 10%, thousands of export containers leaving the ports unchecked, and no police unit devoted to investigate syndicates.

Just 36 people to protect SA’s 144 000 km of cable 

TELKOM has 36 people to protect 144 000 km of cable in South Africa — enough copper to circle the earth three-and-a-half times. That’s one person to prevent theft of copper line which could stretch the entire coastline of South Africa and Namibia. Eskom has static guards at power stations and private security contracts to protect 400 000 km of power line — which is the distance to the moon.



Copperheads make a dent in cable theft, but need a hand 

Scrap dealers on the front line of the cable war 

She’s not your average ‘girlie’ 


Why this ‘petty theft’ costs South Africa billions 

Raiding the dodgy scrap dealers 

The town just waiting for its telephone line to go 

The 14 km cable heist kingpin 

Rainbow Chicken: A company under seige 

The treasure beneath your feet