The National Strategy of the NFCCC (Non-Ferrous Crime Combatting Committee) which is designed and project managed by Business Against Crime SA (BACSA), is starting to achieve tangible results thanks to the creation of a powerful public-private partnership between the SAPS, NPA, DTI, Telkom, Eskom, and Transnet.
Over the last two years, stakeholders from both government and the business sector have worked tirelessly to put in place the structures and resources necessary to roll out the national strategy of the NFCCC.
The NFCCC has three core areas of focus; the first, getting the SAPS into the leadership role, was critical to the ongoing success of the initiative. Non-ferrous theft is now dealt with by the police as a priority crime and has been getting optimal attention from the Visible Policing units in all nine provinces.
“The partnership between the South African Police Service and Business Against Crime has been hugely successful in decreasing the theft of copper through effective joint operations,” said National Chairperson of the NFCCC, Major Gen. Luke Bransby.
The second area of focus is to ensure that all businesses who are victims of non-ferrous crimes make a concerted effort to evaluate internal security risks across their value chains, and to develop effective solutions to overcome these risks. According to BACSA’s Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan, this is critical in light of the fact that the powers of the police are limited and do not extend to the policing of private or company property. “Telkom, Eskom, and Transnet, have played a pro-active role in doing just that. These include investments in better security measures and technology to enhance the internal policing of non-ferrous materials,” she said.
Commenting on the success of these initiatives, Major Gen. Luke Bransby highlighted the positive feedback from the private sector. “In the last meeting of the national NFCCC, the private sector stakeholders emphasised the issue of internal security measures that have been put in place and are yielding positive results,” he said.
“In the past the rise in the copper prices influenced the high rate of non-ferrous metal theft in the country, and this became the main contributing factor to the growth in the market for stolen copper, apart from the global demand for the metal. It was necessary to put together a national plan which would control the theft nationally, especially since the rate of incidents is so directly influenced by macro-economic factors” said Adv. Pillay-van Graan. This, she said, led to the third area of focus of the national strategy, which is to tighten export and import controls in the country, and to criminalize the export of stolen scrap metal out of South Africa. These amendments to the International Trade Administration Act are currently receiving attention from the relevant government departments.
BACSA is confident that the joint strategy is the best solution to curbing non-ferrous metal thefts, and this initiative is a positive indicator of how well business and government can work together to make an impact on crime.
The national plan will be reviewed in December 2012, to accommodate any change in strategy if the need arises over the next few months.