The Cape Town area is experiencing an epidemic of copper cable theft that is causing disruption to electricity supplies and other services. Over the last year the Western Cape has lost an estimated R22 million to the plundering of insulation cables, wires, manhole covers, water metres and other infrastructure. The stolen items are melted down and exported, allegedly to China. Other parts of South Africa are affected too and there are fears the situation could deteriorate as the country invests in infrastructure projects in view of the football World Cup in 2010. It costs the country an estimated R500 million annually to replace stolen cables and a further R2.5 billion in knock-on effects of power cuts on industry, transport services and business.
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