South African Government plans to scrap the unlawful scrap metal waste

The African National Congress (ANC) fully supports the draft proposal that the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) gazetted for public comment in order to crack down on unlawful deals connected to the scrap metal trade in South Africa. The plan calls for the implementation of a six-month export restriction on scrap and waste metal, including copper cable, as well as a permit system for exporting some semi-processed metal goods.

The idea, which is organized into three stages, includes a new, enhanced registration procedure for scrap buyers and sellers to enhance monitoring, policing, and law enforcement. It also advises putting potential restrictions in place at ports and border crossings used for scrap metal trading and changing South African law to make it harder to trade in stolen metal and copper wiring. Minister Ebrahim Patel asked the public to submit comments on the suggested members within 21 days.

The document was issued on August 5, 2022, and the deadline was this past Saturday, August 26. The draft proposal attempts to stop cable theft while strengthening laws governing the country’s scrap metal trade.

“South Africa faces a serious challenge from theft of metal and the associated impairment and destruction of infrastructure,” the document reads.“The incidents of theft have increased markedly in recent years, as has the detrimental impact on the economy and society more generally.”

In addition to harming South Africa’s economy, cable theft makes things worse for the nation’s national and municipal electric utilities. The theft of cables, transformers, overhead wires, and conductors, according to Eskom, costs the national power utility over R2 billion annually. City Power The municipal power company for the City of Johannesburg also disclosed that it spent R100 million in one year battling cable theft.

“We now have to intensify security deployment over hotspots where City Power has substations and cable networks,” City of Johannesburg mayoral committee member Michael Sun said.“Alone in one year, City Power spent about R100 million on security deployment.”While utilities strive to restore the stolen cabling, instances of copper cable theft that belong to electricity suppliers can also result in significant power outages.

The ANC pledges its support

The African National Congress has indicated that it agrees with the DTIC’s recommendations. “The ANC rejects suggestions that policing alone can stop cable theft as disingenuous because there is 118,000km of copper cable belonging to Telkom; there is 425,000km of cable belonging to Eskom and there is 25,000 km of railway lines,” it said in a statement.

The suggestions, it continued, are in line with the conclusions of its sixth national policy conference and its 54th national conference, the latter of which called for outright outlawing the scrap metal trade. “To show how seriously the ANC takes this matter, the 6th National Policy conference concluded that ‘the destruction and theft of and trade in public infrastructure should be treated as treason’,” the ANC stated.

Rail Infrastructure  

The theft and damage of vital train infrastructure have harmed the nation’s economy, prompting the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, to call for a ban on the export of scrap metal in the early months of this year.“We are unequivocal in our call to ban the export of scrap metal and will support any measure that will bring us closer to this reality,” said the Minister

He stated that taking this action will strengthen government initiatives targeted at protecting public assets and make the theft of cables and other metals less lucrative. He was speaking at a media briefing on the White Paper on the National Rail Policy in Pretoria.

“The criminality behind the rampant theft and vandalism of railway infrastructure that has stripped bare our stations and rail network requires extraordinary interventions that go beyond merely stepping up security. We must eliminate this perverse incentive by banning the export of scrap metal and therefore limit the market that aids this criminality. The corporate sector must come to the party and bolster our efforts to deal a decisive blow to this criminality that is enabled by scrap dealers buying stolen scrap metal,” Mbalula said.

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