DA debate on economic impact of theft and vandalism of public infrastructure set for 1 September

Issued by Mat Cuthbert MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition
15 Jul 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Mat Cuthbert MP.

The DA is excited to announce that our debate of national importance on the economic impact of theft and vandalism of public infrastructure will take place on 1 September 2022.

South Africa’s economy continues to suffer with devastating effects on the citizens. Theft and vandalism of public infrastructure costs State-owned enterprises (SOEs) R7 billion each year, and results in R187 billion in economic losses to our country.

We need a whole-of-society approach – something the DA continues to successfully implement where we govern through Community Infrastructure Protection Patrols involving the Metro Police, councillors, neighbourhood and community watches, and Community Policing Forums (CPFs).

The DA will use the debate to call for national government to join our local governments’ efforts to address and eradicate this scourge. We have a number of interventions that will ensure the safeguarding of public infrastructure and will help right our economy:

  • The proper implementation of the Second-Hand Goods Act of 2009;
  • Copper theft must have its own crime code, and it must be a priority crime with a specialised unit within the South African Police Service (SAPS);
  • Measurable copper theft reduction targets for relevant SOEs;
  • Close cooperation between law enforcement and metal recyclers to better track the illegal trading of metals;
  • The Non-ferrous Metals Crime Combating Committee must be better empowered through legislation and its own dedicated budget;
  • Government must establish a reward hotline;
  • The eradication of the backlog of scrap dealer licences; and
  • The standardisation of recording all scrap metal sales.

Local governments cannot tackle the problem on their own. National and provincial governments, civil society and law enforcement must all work together to address the problem and save the economy. South Africa will continue to bleed jobs until infrastructure damage and theft have been halted.