Copper cable theft must be classified as an economic crime, Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Monday.
“Issues of cable theft should be dealt with as economic sabotage,” she told reporters at the Rand Water depot in Glenvista, Johannesburg.
“The justice system must not deal with them as petty crimes, but as economic crimes.”
On September 15, a City Power transformer failed. It supplies power to Rand Water’s Eikenhof pump station, which feeds a smaller system.
On September 21, copper cables from an Eskom sub-station in Alrode were stolen. The sub-station supplies power to the Rand Water’s bigger pump station, Palmiet, in Glenvista.
The pump station feeds the Klipriviersberg reservoir which supplies water to areas between Germiston and Pretoria.
Mokonyane said the government security cluster had been included in talks about the matter.
“We take the issue of cable theft quite seriously. There are interventions that are being attended to. As I said, there has been an inclusion of the security cluster into this operation.”
Mokonyane said although the province had experienced water shortages, water supply was never completely cut.
“There was never a 100 percent shutdown.”
The said one of the problems was the time it took to respond. The matter was resolved within a week.
She urged members of the public to respect infrastructure and not to buy stolen property.