Residents of a Limpopo village have been warned to be vigilant against criminals who steal electric cables at night.
Community leaders in Morapalala village in Bolobedu, north of Tzaneen, made the call after cable thieves, known as izinyoka, stole a number of electric supply cables from the households of more than 10 families recently, leaving them without lights and electricity for weeks.
The thieves allegedly sell the cables to scrap yards in Tzaneen's industrial area .
The Greater Tzaneen municipal councillor for ward 1 Enica Lebea told residents who attended a local Women's Day celebration in the village at the weekend to "blow the whistle" and inform neighbours about any criminal acts at night to get rid of the thieves.
"We have received several complaints about an escalating rate of criminal activities in this village," she said.
"And we are warning the culprits that their days of tormenting the community are getting close to coming to an end."
A local leader, who did not want to be named, said the criminals cut the outside cables when home owners are asleep.
Home owners in the village are now living in fear of the criminals .
They are afraid that the thieves might break into their houses if they fail to cut the outside cables.
This, they said, is likely to happen in homes where females live alone.
Recently criminals broke into several houses in the early hours of the morning and stole pots full of porridge, plates and some cooked chickens, which they apparently ate in the bushes or at their hide-outs during the day, a villager said.
Bolobedu police spokesman Captain Freddy Maenetja said they were disturbed because people were not reporting these cases.
He called on the residents of Morapalala to inform police as soon as any criminal incident happened in the village.
"The only cases of cable theft we have received were the ones that happened at the neighbouring village of Pjapjamela, a few kilometres from Morapalala," Maenetja said yesterday.