Copper Prices Will Help Escalate The Theft

in hive-167922 •  last month 

Possibly the criminals follow the copper prices and think it is time for another haul.I would hate to see copper go up much more as then the plundering will really be more serious.

Last night and this morning we had more power outages but this time it was for a different reason. People cutting the cables and stealing them for their copper value. This has been a problem for years due to the value of copper as scrap. This is high risk high reward as cutting into a live cable must take some nerve and many die doing this. What is sad that there are plenty of replacements ready to take over and fill in when others perish.


The government did a study a while back and estimated the country loses around $1 Billion every year in stolen cables. This does not include downtime on lost business as that can never be recouped. There are some strict laws regarding burnt copper which carries a minimum of a 20 years prison sentence.

Copper today has a street value of R35-R50 ($2-$3) per kilogram which doesn't sound like much but if you are pulling 1000 Kg' at a time it adds up quickly. This is not a one man operation and would take a team and most likely inside information assisting as well.

I know in Cape Town ex cops are working as private investigators and having success in retrieving the stolen copper. Most of these syndicates take advantage of the ones that don't have work and are desperate so what would you do in that same position? many are foreigners who don't have legal papers to even be here so many are like ghosts as they literally don't exist on the system.

Nothing is safe as I have witnessed a traffic light being cut down to expose the wires. This has more serious implications as busy intersections now have no functioning lights. The last place I worked at used to have a functioning railway track until the tracks suddenly started disappearing. Now there are no tracks left for kilometres at a time and we all know how heavy those are.
10Km of a disappearing railway track would cost more than $2 Million to replace yet the thieves would only pocket $120 000 as scrap.

Plundering the infrastructure to turn it into scrap needs to be resolved and one would think that placing cameras all over would work to a point. it amazes me when you are in Europe so much is monitored yet you come to Africa and there is very little monitoring going on. Even the speed cameras have been shot out which I don't really mind I might add. That isn't theft though as only the idiots pay for traffic offences today.

Private rail firm set up new tracks for the thieves to steal what they laid down overnight.The older infrastructure that isn't being used has no chance so nothing historical ever lasts.

The electricity is back up but for how long as in the past this will be hit again. The last time this happened we had the same issue for three weeks running so you would think that someone would keep an eye out and possibly set a trap. Just maybe that someone is in on the deal so that won't happen. I just find it amazing where the tax money goes these days and why the financial reserves are not as full as they should be.

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Thieves are also stealing railroad signaling cables which help direct rail traffic and announce crossings to drivers.

In construction sites, thieves often steel the copper soon after electrical work has been installed. Air conditioning coils are also a popular target.

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Dang! People are a bit nuts about copper over here too, but I think they know better than to cut down power lines to get to it. That is just asking to die. It is interesting to know the whole theft in general is not a isolated problem.