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The City’s “copper heads” new powers to search for stolen copper

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the new powers given to its “copper heads” to enter the premises of scrap and second-hand goods dealers to search for stolen copper.

“I hope this will lead to the conviction and jailing of some of the people responsible for the destruction of the City’s infrastructure,” said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber.

The City’s special unit to combat copper theft, known as the copper heads, has been successful in dealing with the problem at a low level but not with the dealers and organisers of the theft syndicates.

“Copper and cable theft is a huge problem in Cape Town as every person who uses the suburban trains knows. It is a form of sabotage and the authorities have been reluctant to use really tough measures. Requests for a 40% tax on exported copper scrap have been rejected even though the countries that buy our copper use similar taxes to stop the export of their own scrap copper.”

She pointed out that the demand for copper was increasing and there was a case to ban exports of scrap altogether. “We need that copper here to make things like solar water heaters.”

The search and seizure power were gazetted as an amendment of the Second-hand Goods Act this week.

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