Cape Town's cable and equipment thieves appear to have hit on a new modus operandi, with the theft of vital equipment from three public swimming pools.
In March, the Manenberg, Retreat and Parow North pools were targeted, with thousands of rands worth of stolen equipment leading to the closure of these popular pools.
Steel pipes, gauges and valves from the filter were filched from the Retreat indoor pool.
Power cables were stolen from the Manenberg pool.
A chlorinator, two booster pump motors, a dosing system, chlorine masks, PVC pipe, copper pipes and other fittings were stolen from the Parow North pool.
Blow to swimmers
Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, said these thefts were a terrible blow for swimmers who need to train, and for the children in the areas who love the facilities.
The thefts at the Retreat indoor swimming pool means that the "Learn to Swim" programme has had to be cancelled, and the swimming clubs who train there have to find costly alternative venues.
The theft of cables from the Manenberg pool means the facility has no electricity, which affects water quality. In January a staff member who was patrolling the perimeter of that pool had a brick thrown at him as he tried to close a vandalised hole in the fence. Contractors' vehicles had been stoned weeks earlier.
"We are also assessing the situation at the Parow North swimming pool, where a similar incident took place on or around Human Rights Day," said Badroodien.
"What makes this incident all the more disappointing is that the swimming pool was in the process of being filled, with a view to opening it to the public. These plans have now been scuppered."
Badroodien said the City had spent millions to help keep clinics, libraries and community facilities - such as recreational centres - safe from criminals, and had spent almost R40m on security measures like guards, bars and lighting.
"I call on residents to help us secure our amenities by reporting any suspicions or incidents that they witness or hear about," he said.
The information can be passed to the South African Police Service or the City's Public Emergency Communication Centre on 021 480 7700 or 107 from a landline.
According to the Western Cape government, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that cable theft costs the economy between R5bn and R7bn a year.