Political parties have declared war on cable thieves by supporting the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill in parliament on Thursday.
The bill was debated in the national assembly where it was supported by a majority of parties, with the exception of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
It has now been referred to the national council of provinces for concurrence.
The Criminal Matters Amendment Bill introduces harsher sentences for the destruction of essential infrastructure and more stringent bail conditions and applications for perpetrators.
ANC MP Bongani Bongo said the bill addressed not only the theft of metal, but also the damaging of infrastructure in communities.
He said the crime was more prevalent in the Western Cape.
“We need to check and investigate if other members [MPs] are not part of this because they objected to this bill. The ANC is of the view that this legislation is urgently required,” he said.
ANC MP Chana Pilane-Majeke said with the introduction of the bill, they were declaring war against anything that undermined democratic rights of people.
Her sentiments were echoed by various other political parties.
Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach said they agreed that the level of crime when it came to essential infrastructure was unacceptably high.
“We also agree that these crimes pose a threat to public safety, supply of electricity and water. For this reason, the DA will vote in favour of the bill.”
The Congress of the People, the African Christian Democratic Party, the National Freedom Party, Inkatha Freedom Party also declared their support for the bill, with parties saying it was long overdue. — News24