Cape Town – Losses to copper theft increased marginally to R13.2m in October, up from R13m the previous month, according to the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci) copper theft barometer.

“This is the fifth monthly increase in the year and is 43% higher than a year ago. The increase in October is a worrying signal that copper theft may be on the increase over the short to medium-term.”

The volume of stolen copper increased from 173 tonnes in September to 176 tonnes in October.

“The recent increases in copper theft suggest an upward trend has taken hold. This is certainly a setback from the good work done in driving down the crime trajectory from 2012 to 2013.”

Sacci said the impact of copper theft range from frustration over network service interruption to the loss of lives.

Municipalities are also placed under financial strain in replacing stolen cables.