Civic group warns of growing water-meter thefts

From left are Sub-council 20 chairman Ian Iversen, Phranki Lombard, Darryl Lawrence, Louise Kinrade, Gary Rowe, Fiona Eadie, Kerryn Rehse and KERA chairperson Carolynne Franklin. (Absent, Gary van Eck, Barry Tranter and Paula Camp).

A growing number of water meters are being stolen in the Kirstenhof area, a civic association meeting heard last week.

Twenty-eight masked, distanced people were at the annual general meeting of the Kirstenhof and Environs Residents’ Association (KERA), at the Church of the Holy Spirit, in Raapkraal Road, on Wednesday May 19.

Carolynne Franklin, the association’ chairwoman, said two water meters had been stolen that day, plus 30 others in the past five weeks and a further six on Sunday May 23. “We have footage. It takes 35 seconds to rip out a meter using a crowbar. Thieves have even taken two from neighbouring houses,” said Ms Franklin.

Residents should use street WhatsApp groups, their security companies and neighbourhood watches to keep an eye out for suspicious activity, she said.

At the Sub-council 20 meeting earlier that day, Ward 71 councillor Penny East also reported the theft of water meters – both during the day and night.

“It is a waste of water with disruption to residents’ water supply until the meters can be replaced. Added to this is a feeling of insecurity,” said Ms East.

Kirstenhof police spokeswoman Sergeant Deirdre Solomon said there had been an increasing number of reports of water-meter theft in Kirstenhof in the past month.

The Tokai Residents’ Association said that in Vans Road, Tokai, five water meters had been tampered with and some stolen in two incidents last week

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste, said up to 105 water meters were being stolen across the city in one month. It costs on average R1870 to replace a meter.

Ms Franklin said sewage spills and waterway pollution remained a problem.

“KERA has been raising this through the correct channels for many years with much passing of the buck between the City, via Ms East, the Department of Public Works and Correctional Services,” said Ms Franklin.

The association had eventually contacted media and the Green Scorpions (“Prison sewage leaks into estuary and river,” Bulletin November 12) and (“Dog owners concerned about pollution in vlei,” Bulletin December 17) which had led to clearing and the repair of sewage pipes and the repair of the main sewer line next to the M3.

Ms Franklin said many street lights in the area had blown bulbs. Sub-council 20 chairman Ian Iversen, who attended the meeting in place of Ms East, said street lights were being targeted for copper cables. “In some areas, the whole street light is cut down in daylight. The electrical department is now welding them closed in some areas,” he said.

Carolynne Franklin, Barry Tranter, Sue Tranter, Paula Camp and Kerryn Rehse were re-elected to the committee, while Darryl Lawrence, Gary Rowe, Gary van Eck, Louise Kinrade, Phranki Lombard and Fiona Eadie were voted in as new members.