TO: ALL MEDIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: 2 FEBRUARY 2023
COMMITTEE CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF STATE INFRASTRUCTURE
The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety has over time noted with great concern the continuous vandalism and theft of critical state infrastructure around the country and Gauteng in particular.
The persistent incident increase in the theft of cables, electric poles, traffic lights, railway lines and the vandalism of state-owned hospitals, clinics, schools and Police vehicles represent a concerning state of affairs in Gauteng.
Furthermore, the Committee also notes the disturbing video doing the rounds on social media, in which suspected criminals are allegedly stealing cables in broad day light, and in the presence of Police Officers. This theft and vandalism, besides it occurring in front of Police Officers also occurs in public in front of citizens, without them taking appropriate actions of reporting these incidents. This signals the freedom enjoyed by criminals in their foul pursuits, their gross disregard for the law and other fellow citizens, and the impact of their actions on society.
The Committee has noted a preliminary report on the disturbing video and is currently awaiting a full detailed report on what exactly transpired during the incidents and what appropriate measures will be taken to address and curb the recurrence of such incidents.
South Africa is currently dealing with the devasting economic effects caused by Covid-19 and the further impact of loadshedding on businesses and communities. The theft and vandalism of critical state infrastructure worsens current the economic hardships facing South Africans daily.
State Infrastructure has a strategic role to play in the economic recovery and growth South Africa currently needs. Any damage or theft of infrastructure amounts to economic sabotage and perpetrators should get the harshest sentence.
The Committee calls on collaborative efforts by civil society, business community, faith-based organizations and private security companies to join forces with law enforcement agencies in bringing an end to this widespread economic sabotage. Suspected vandalism or theft of state infrastructure should immediately be reported to law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, businesses such as scrap metal collectors and smelters who buy stolen infrastructure from unregistered traders and thieves should also be reported to curb market demand for stolen infrastructure.
The Committee will as part of its oversight responsibility call the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety and Provincial Police Commissioner to appear before it and give a detailed account on the theft and vandalism of critical state infrastructure. They will present plans to put an end to these criminal acts.
ISSUED BY GPL’S MEDIA SERVICES ON BEHALF OF CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY SAFETY, HONOURABLE BANDILE MASUKU
For interview requests with the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee please contact: Mr Thebe Khumalo on 072 266 1021 email: TKhumalo@gpl.gov.za
GAUTENG PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE