CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town said it's clamping down on cable thieves and unscrupulous scrapyard owners.
It says many people caught stealing state property re-offend because of the lack of convictions.
The economy is losing an estimated R5-billion annually due to cable theft.
Cable theft is a profitable business with one-metre costing around R7,000.
Transport Portfolio chairperson Angus McKenzie said, "what we found on this line is that we had law enforcement patrolling up and down and that contract was subsequently cancelled by Prasa again. One has to ask why to take away something successful?"
Stolen cables are often brought to scrapyards close to neighbourhoods.
Some scrapyard owners in Bonteheuwel say they understand that being an accessory to this crime could put them out of business.
The City said thousands of copper cables have been confiscated this year alone but say they need more help.
MEC of Safety and Security, JP Smith said, "many of these problems are organised by syndicates and without the investigative powers that national government has we can't win these battles."
Cable theft has not only caused the rail services to be dysfunctional in the Western Cape but has also affected many other businesses.