Solly Msimanga. Picture: THE TIMES
Solly Msimanga. Picture: THE TIMES

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga wants the mayors of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to jointly lobby national government to form a task team to tackle cable theft.

Since November 2017, his council had dealt with 1,498 incidents of cable theft. Delivering his second state of the capital address on Thursday, Msimanga said cable theft was “threatening” improvements in the city.

He said the city lost “millions of rand” each year due to cable theft, but there was no coordinated plan by law enforcement agencies at national level to deal with it decisively.

He said cable theft was a national issue, but it was especially prevalent in Gauteng.

“The theft of cables has the potential to hamper the sustainable provision of services such as transport, communication, water and electricity. It affects the quality of life of residents and hampers local economic development as well,” he said.

Msimanga said he would be meeting with his counterparts, Herman Mashaba from Johannesburg and Mzwandile Masina from Ekurhuleni, on Tuesday to find a coordinated way to deal with the cable theft issue.

“The continued menace of cable theft calls for the joint efforts of local, provincial and national governments working with communities to deal with this social ill,” Msimanga said.

He added that cable theft incidents were not only costly to the municipality but also unnecessarily inconvenienced the city and its clients.

Msimanga said the crime flourished because a market existed for the stolen goods. He said both buyers and sellers of the stolen cables should be dealt with. He announced that R500m in the 2018-19 budget would go towards electricity distribution, upgrades of feeders, cables, lines and mini substations.

The mayor warned residents not to be used by political parties to further their “agendas” by illegally occupying land.

He said the government supported land redistribution. The city has had its fair share of land invasions since the DA-led coalition took over in 2016.