Ottery and Lotus River are among the top-ten neighbourhoods worst hit by water-meter thefts over the past year, says the City, which is offering R5000 rewards to those who help catch the culprits
The City is replacing brass meters – valued by thieves for the metal – with plastic ones to help curb vandalism and theft, which it says have cost R3.9 million from July 2022 to May this year. Some 2255 meter-theft cases were recorded in that period, says the City.
Ward 66 councillor William Akim believes a syndicate is stealing the meters at night and during load shedding, with some areas reporting up to 40 stolen meters per week.
Old Strandfontein, Woodlands, Applemist, Miller and Norman roads had been targeted, along with Turfhall Estate, he said.
“It causes water to run off, water disruptions and staff have to be called out to repair the damage almost every day. It’s the same cycle happening from area to area, and it costs a lot of money that could have been used for more appropriate work in those same areas.”
Mr Akim said thieves sold the brass components to scrapyards.
Grassy Park police station commander Colonel Dawood Laing said they had regular operations at scrapyards, and on Thursday July 6 they had had a breakthrough after arresting a suspect in Fairways.
“We received some information, which we are following up on, and we visit the scrapyards to investigate, but it’s the illegal scrapyards that buy the copper components so there is unfortunately a market,” he said.
He encouraged the public to report any suspicious activity.
“People need to monitor what’s happening in their streets, to let their neighbourhood watches know,” said Colonel Laing.
According to Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Ottery, Kensington, Lentegeur, Westridge, Wynberg, Lotus River, Portland, Milnerton, Tafelsig and Glenhaven were the top-10 worst-hit areas for water-meter theft from July 2022 to May this year.
“‘The City cannot condone the theft of critical infrastructure. We ask residents to please be vigilant and to report these incidents so it can be investigated to clamp down on this reckless, inconsiderate behaviour that has a knock-on effect on residents,” said Dr Badroodien.
“Stealing a water meter from a property causes major inconvenience for the affected household as they have no water supply until their meter is replaced. Also, the money spent on replacing the meters could have been used elsewhere.”
The City is offering a reward of up to R5000 for anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of those responsible for vandalising or stealing water and sanitation infrastructure, including meters and manhole covers.
To reveal the whereabouts of stolen property or a suspected offender, call 0800 11 00 77. You can also WhatsApp 060 018 1505, email email@example.com, SMS 31373, call 0860 103 089, go to www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests or visit a walk-in centre to file a report.