Continued copper wire theft is worrisome and hampering progress in Otjiwarongo's new Extension 12 residential area.
The Central North Regional Electricity Distributor's (CENORED) Corporate Communications and Marketing Officer, Charlie Matengu, says criminal rings are targeting vacant or foreclosed homes as they are a lucrative source of installed copper.
"These are copper-thirsty criminals roaming around, targeting vacant places where contractions are still ongoing, cutting padlocks, and burning kiosks to steal copper from the kiosk. These criminals come in sometimes dressed like some of our employees, except that their clothing does not have the CENORED logos. These infrastructures are not entirely for CENORED now that they are placed here. They are there to serve the public, and the public should safeguard infrastructure. "Like what happened last night, a few households are already affected."
Phillip Gowaseb, CENORED's Area Superintendent, said the increase in copper price has given height to cable theft in recent years, and this is proving costly for the company to repair every other month.
"In terms of maintenance, it's a big problem, whereby the funds that we are supposed to redirect to corrective maintenance and preventive maintenance are now being utilized to reinstall the things we have already installed previously. So we like to urge the community members to at least, if you find any suspicious person now next to a kiosk or so forth, report them directly to the CENORED standby number, call center, or any other CENORED office."
In the meantime, neighborhood watch groups are encouraged to also exercise or increase vigilance in their areas.