FRIDAY 14 JUNE 2019

Your Royal Highnesses


Cabinet Ministers

Regional Administrator

Members of both Houses of Parliament

Acting National Commissioner & all Police officers present Senior Government Officials,

Captains of Industry from partnering Stakeholders in this campaign  - EPTC,EEC,EWCS, MTN Eswatini, ER, RSSC, ILLOVO

Members of the community with the city of Manzini

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

May I on behalf of His Majesty’s Government and in my capacity as Minister Responsible for Police Affairs express my sincere gratitude to all stakeholders present here today.

This event has been organized to galvanize our efforts in the fight against the theft of copper wire, which has become a cause of concern and could rightly be declared a national challenge. Your presence in your various capacities, in particular parastatals and business entities who fall victim through incurring losses due to theft of copper cable (that is, EPTC, EEC, EWCS, MTN Eswatini, ER, RSSC, ILLOVO), bears testament of your commitment and resolve to bring an end to this phenomenon.

Victory against any form of criminality can only be achieved when law enforcement agencies such as the Police work in close partnership and collaboration with the public, which is what is propagated by the chosen slogan for this campaign “come let us join hands, copper theft is a crime”

Copper cable theft is an enemy of progress in any jurisdiction, and decisive actions need to be taken to halt the scourge which continues to undermine economic growth and development. It destabilizes operations that affect many economic activities, especially the provision of essential services such as communications services, utilities (electricity, water) as well as transport like railway infrastructure. 

The threat does not only affect financial and essential services but also has a direct impact on the safety of citizens. For instance, the health sector has life sustaining equipment and medical operations which rely heavily on guaranteed electricity supply. Disconnections due to the theft of copper cable could result in disruption of medical procedures thus complicate the health of patients and eventually lead to the loss of life.

Also bearing the brunt of copper cable theft are consumers as service providers are forced to hike tariffs in order to recover losses incurred in repairing and replacing stolen copper wire. The theft of copper cable is opposed to the spirit of the recently launched Strategic Road Map 2018-2023 for the Kingdom of Eswatini, which seeks to drive economy recovery for the country, through creating an enabling environment for Emaswati, investors and strategic partners to thrive.

One key sector of the economy that has been identified as a key growth thematic area in the recently launched Strategic road map is Information Communication Technology (ICT) which heavily relies on the use of copper cables. We should all come together to counter this criminality which poses a great potential of stifling ICT development. 

His Majesty’s Government is committed to nipping out this activity through introducing the following measures:-

  1. Comprehensive Legislative framework – we will be piloting for the development of an all-inclusive legislative framework that will have stiffer sentences to ensure that perpetrators are deterred.
  2. Classification of theft of copper cables and non-ferrous metals – noting that the theft of copper cables is perpetrated by organized syndicates and poses safety and security threats. Government will classify this criminality as a prioritized crime.
  3. Setting up of Task Commissions - Government will also establish a Non Ferrous Metal Crime Combating Committee that will be comprised of selected Line Ministries (ICT, Natural Resources), the Police as well as affected stakeholder groups. This Committee will be an oversight body and will be tasked to devise strategies and plans for a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle this challenge, rather than working in silos or fragmented groups.

All these approaches are in line with declaring war against perpetrators of this unacceptable criminal activity. True to the chosen theme of the Campaign which is raising a standard in combating copper theft and other non-ferrous metals, may I also appeal to the nation to heighten vigilance and join hands in curbing this criminality from community level.

Raising the standard means as a nation we ought to adopt a zero tolerance approach to fighting syndicates involved in the theft of nonferrous metals.  We also appreciate the various platforms that have been created by the Police and affected stakeholders, and hope this will extend to the rolling out of public awareness and dialoguing countrywide to come up with pragmatic solutions.

May I take this opportunity to advise scrap metal dealers and pawn shop owners, to desist from receiving stolen copper wire.

As I conclude my remarks, may I on behalf of His Majesty’s Government once again thank all of you for the support you have shown in today’s event. May the messages relayed today by the various speakers, reverberate countrywide and bring a positive change in the criminal landscape, because, with a safer the country we will be able to achieve our economic renewal strategies.  

OffCanvas Menu