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COSATU on Sugar Tax Part 1 of 3
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Shopsteward Volume 26 No. 2

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU welcomes the passing of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act

The Congress of South African Trade Unions {COSATU} welcomes the parliaments` decision to pass the Criminal Matters Amendment Act and urges the President of the country, Cede. JG Zama to urgently sign this Act into law.

We believe this is a badly needed and long overdue intervention to try and stem the tide of cable and other essential public infrastructure theft and vandalism in South Africa. Cable and other essential infrastructure theft have severely undermined the government`s ability to deliver electricity, water and other badly needed services to the people.

  • It is estimated that cable theft costs South Africa up to R7 billion per annum. Much of this is workers` hard earned tax money.
  • There are two {2} people who died, 19 were critically injured and a further 281 were injured ,when two trains collided near Pretoria in January 2011.This was due to the theft of two 25 metre cables disrupting the signalling system. The financial costs of this accident to the trains and rails was more than R22 million.
  • Telkom reported that in 2010/11, they suffered losses of up to R183.5 million due to cable theft. In certain areas Telkom has simply stopped replacing stolen cables due to high theft.
  • Eskom, Telkom and Transnet reported combined losses of more than R3.12 billion due to copper theft between 2006 and 2011.
  • Workers jobs at these parastatals are threatened ,as those state owned companies are drained of their funds trying to repair the damages caused by cable and metals theft.
  • Workers and companies suffer financial losses due to the constant train delays caused by cable theft.

The federation strongly supports the Act`s criminalization of such theft and vandalism. We support the mandatory detaining of persons arrested for such offences and that they may only apply for bail in court.

COSATU supports the increased mandatory sentence periods for those convicted. We view it as a step towards dealing with such criminals. We welcome the targeting of scrap dealers and agents ,who are the masterminds of this criminal trade.

To further strengthen government`s capacity to fight this crime, COSATU calls upon the Department of Trade and Industry and SARS to tighten controls on metals scrap dealers and export agents. They must be required to provide proof of the legal origin of copper, cable and other products in their possession. Customs inspections must be tightened. Duties and banning of the export of copper and cables must also be provided for. This will be another weapon in our fight against crime.

For further information, please contact: Matthew Parks, COSATU Parliamentary Officer @ 082 785 0687- 021 461 4034

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