Theft, vandalism of water and sewerage infrastructure on the increase in Cape Town
  • Damage to water and sewerage infrastructure cost the City of Cape Town R41 million.
  • There was an increase in the theft of drain covers this year.
  • More than 20 pump stations were vandalised.

Damage to water and sewerage infrastructure has cost the City of Cape Town R41 million in this financial year.

The municipality recorded increased cases of drain cover theft and vandalism to pump stations, said the mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Zahid Badroodien.

“In our water and sewerage space, our infrastructure is currently under attack. We are now recording an increase of at least 500 drain covers being stolen a month in this financial year alone, as opposed to the 300 a month in the previous financial year,” said Badroodien.

He added that more than 20 pump stations had been vandalised.

The City is also increasing its budget for pump stations by R20 million to allow for “necessary security upgrades and replacement of electrical components”. Already, R36 million has been spent on upgrading and repairing 27 vandalised pump stations this year, according to Badroodien.

He said the most recent incident saw a pump station in Wallacedene gutted during an Eskom service delivery protest, which led to a “health emergency for that community”.

“Such inconsiderate actions by a few culprits have a knock-on effect on many households, which are negatively impacted when sewage runs in the street and stormwater and waterways are polluted. Anyone stealing this equipment is essentially stealing from our residents,” said Badroodien.

“It costs a lot to replace and repair, and the money could have been used for other services. These actions inconvenience the community, and creates safety hazards, like open manholes, and health risks when sewage runs in the street.”   

On Friday, the City and the national Department of Water and Sanitation launched a joint campaign to raise public awareness about the impact of the theft and vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure.

The City will be offering up to R5 000 to any resident who reports incidents or information related to such theft and vandalism, which leads to a successful arrest or the recovery of stolen equipment.

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