Evening sport in Sarepta has ground to a halt after thieves stole floodlight cables and goal posts at the Sarepta sports complex over a fortnight ago.
The Kuils River Community Police Forum (CPF) said ground staff alerted it to the theft of about 50m of cable on Sunday July 3.
The thieves dug ankle-deep trenches to get the cables and they also stole all the cables in a pole near the R300 in a single night.
Vibracrete slabs are also being stolen from the City property, the CPF said.
Kuils River CPF spokesman Winston Davids visited the field on Wednesday July 6.
“The fact of the matter is our own people are stealing from us here,” a visibly upset Mr Davids told the Northern News.
The floodlights had also lit an alley identified as a crime hotspot, which pedestrians use to reach a bridge over the busy R300.
“Athletes won’t be able to play night games or practise after 6pm. It’s already dark after 6pm,” said Mr Davids.
The culprits are unknown at this stage, but Mr Davids has urged the City to report the theft to the police.
The CPF will also ask the Sarepta Neighbourhood Watch to keep an eye on the sports complex, where thieves have also been stealing slabs of Vibracrete wall and selling them to residents.
“That needs to stop as well. “We’re letting ourselves down. People need to stop buying stolen things.
“The thieves sell these things for drugs. We should not be a part of the problem,” Mr Davids said.
Belinda Walker, mayoral commitee member for community services and special projects, said the City knows about the thefts at the complex.
She said both incidents had been reported on Monday July 4 to the police. She estimated the costs of the cable alone to be R45 000.
She said vandalism and theft at City facilities were depriving communities of quality spaces for learning and recreation.
“With increasing pressure to provide new facilities in order to meet the needs of a quickly expanding city, it is not always possible to provide a constant security personnel presence at all of our facilities.”
The City was doing all it could to curb crime at the facilities by installing or upgrading fencing, alarms, burglar bars and other security measures. It also worked with neighbourhood watches and residents prepared to keep an eye on the facilities, Ms Walker said.
She urged residents to report suspicious activity to the City at 021 596 1999 or to police.
Kuils River Cricket Club coach Clinton Dyason said he heard about the theft on Friday July 8 when a resident told him the weekend’s night games would have to be cancelled because there was no light. “It’s already affecting soccer. We’re in the off-season. I hope they sort it out soon because it’s also affecting the immediate community.
“At this stage, it’s limited to soccer night games. And Kuils River loves soccer,” he said.
Kuils River police station commander Colonel Pieter Gallant confirmed the copper cable theft and said the City had also reported the theft of soccer goal posts.