Cable theft solution – technical or socio-economic?

By P Maseema, City of Tshwane


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Published in:

Electricity+Control, June 2013 (pages 4 – 6)

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Technology is effective as an enabler to the whole system of crime combating which should include People, Processes and Technology. Each component of the system should be effectively implemented in a coordinated fashion to ensure an effective result. An effective solution requires a detailed contextual understanding of the problem. Identifying the different factors contributing to the problem enables the discovery of relevant solutions.

Theft of electricity cables, like most theft, is more about socio-economic challenges than technical matters. Motivating factors behind theft of cables (or any other property) vary. There are people who steal cables opportunistically (steal out of ease); there are those who steal out of need and those who steal out of greed. Understanding and addressing the root causes to cable theft holistically will assist in prevention and reaction strategies rather than reaction through a technical solution. as is often the case.


Take note

  • The problem of cable theft has an impact on the overall economy of the country.
  • The number and volume of cable thefts have declined in Tshwane with the arrest of more than 500 copper cable thieves in the city in 2012.
  • The improvements in combating cable theft in Tshwane are the result of the adoption of holistic strategies that include: ‘People, Processes and Technology’.