Cable theft suspects run out of free minutes

16 May 2022 in Where We Govern

The four suspects were caught just after 07:00 this morning, with nearly 600 kilograms of telecommunication cables in their bakkie that they could not account for.

The City’s Metal Theft Unit (MTU) tripped up a group of suspected cable thieves bright and early this morning.

At around 07:00, officers were conducting operations in the vicinity of Epping and Elsies River, inspecting vehicles heading to scrap metal dealers in the area.

The driver of a heavily-loaded bakkie tried to make a U-turn away from a scrap dealer when he spotted the officers, but he was caught along Valhalla Drive.

Officers recovered numerous plastic bags containing what-turned-out-to-be approximately 574 kilograms of telecommunication cables, with an estimated value of R70 000.

None of the four occupants could provide a reasonable explanation for being in possession of the commodity, and were arrested and detained at Elsies River SAPS for possession of stolen property, as well as tampering, damaging or destroying any parts of essential infrastructure in terms of the Criminal Amendment Act.

In the early hours of Saturday, 14 May 2022, MTU officers arrested a suspect for possession of an imitation firearm in Mitchells Plain, and hours later, two suspects were arrested after being caught in the act of stealing cables along the N1 inbound near the CBD.

‘We continue to face extremely high levels of cable theft, as shown once again by this latest incident. The City, through its enforcement agencies, and the Metal Theft Unit in particular, continues to do everything possible within its mandate, to address theft and vandalism of infrastructure. There have been several comments at national government level recently around potential restrictions on the scrap metal trade. The City would welcome efforts to curb the rampant cable theft and vandalism of critical infrastructure, but these need to be expedited. More importantly, it is important that any regulations that are imposed, or legislative changes made, be enforced with vigour by the criminal justice system,’ said the Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

In general enforcement efforts in the past week, the City’s enforcement agencies made 328 arrests and issued 83 796 fines for various transgressions.

The Law Enforcement Department made 122 arrests and issued 4 045 notices.

Officers attached to the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) also recovered eight firearms in Lavender Hill, Muizenberg and Nyanga.

In the latest incident on Friday evening, 13 May 2022, LEAP Reaction Unit members were tipped off about a gunman walking down the street in Lavender Hill. The suspect was tracked to a wendy house in the area, and tried to hide the firearm, but officers recovered the weapon, and eight rounds of ammunition.

Officers also recovered two firearms in Nyanga – one on Wednesday, 11 May, when they searched an individual loitering on the pavement, and the other on Tuesday, 10 May, when a robbery victim flagged them down. Officers tracked the four suspects and found one in possession of a .38 special revolver.

Five more firearms were recovered in Muizenberg and Steenberg in separate incidents on Tuesday, 10 May.


Officers made 157 arrests, including 26 for driving under the influence of alcohol, 62 for possession of drugs and 47 for charges relating to contact crimes, domestic violence and the possession of firearms, among others.

On Wednesday, 11 May  2022, officers arrested a 31-year-old suspect in Heideveld for possession of an illegal firearm and mandrax. He was detained at Manenberg SAPS.


Officers made 49 arrests, including 27 for driving under the influence,12 for reckless and negligent driving, and 10 suspects on a range of other charges.

They also recorded 74 670 offences, impounded 195 public transport vehicles and executed 1 547 warrants of arrest.