Crack down on ‘burnt copper’, says industry

 Crack down on ‘burnt copper’, says industry

5 March 2008

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South Africa — Possession of “burnt copper” should be prohibited by the Second Hand Goods Act, the organised copper industry told Parliament yesterday.

The a ct seeks to put in place stricter measures to control the sale of stolen copper cable, which is costing the economy billions. Telkom revealed this week that it lost R863m between April last year and January this year because of an alarming surge in copper cable theft.

The legislation also takes aim at the sale of devices such as cellphones and second-hand cars that might be stolen.

John Cross, on behalf of t he Copper Development Association in Africa, told Parliament’s safety and security committee that having stolen the cable, the thief had to ensure that it could not be identified by its insulation.

The simplest method was to start a large fire in the veld and dump the cable into the flames. The surviving “burnt copper” was then sold to scrap metal dealers.

Cross said the act was silent on the possession of burnt copper . The scrap copper industry earned as much as the primary copper sector — R3b n a year or R250m a month in exports.

He expressed concern about self-regulation. The act allows for second-hand dealers belonging to an accredited association to be exempt from police inspections.

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