But with the promulgation of the Secondhand Goods Act in 2012, there are tighter controls on the selling of such scrap. Bernard Maguire, executive committee member of the Metals Recycling Association, says farmers should only sell scrap metal to a dealer accredited with the SA Police Service and who has a secondhand goods certificate.
“That buyer will have to satisfy himself that you are the rightful owner. Then he will take your information, including a copy of your ID, the origin of the material and your residential address. If you take the scrap to the dealer by vehicle, he will take your licence and registration details,” says Maguire.
This information has to be recorded and the dealer has to hold the goods for at least seven days. Maguire estimates that three million tons of scrap metal is sold or recycled in SA every year. While the cost varies depending on type, he estimates that scrap steel costs in the region R1 850/t. The Secondhand Goods Act also appears to have put a damper on the theft of copper wire.
The South African Chamber of Commercial and Industry’s (SACCI) Copper Theft Barometer decreased to R9 million in May 2013 from R9,9 million in April and R10 million in March. “This is the lowest recorded level of the barometer since its inception – December 2010 – and a clear indication that copper theft crime fighting strategies are gaining momentum,” according to SACCI. The Copper Theft Volume Indicator decreased to 132t in May from 150t in April.