Copper thieves can expect to face harsher sentences when a new policy comes into law from next month.
Copper thieves, scrap merchants and metal dealers will all be affected when the Criminal Matters Amendment Act comes into effect on 1 June 2016.
Thieves can be sentenced to anywhere between five and 30 years in prison, while scrap dealers can face a fine of up to R100 million.
The SA Revenue Protection Association (Sarpa) welcomes the legislation, which bans the destruction of infrastructure that provides essential services.
Sarpa technical adviser Rens Bindeman says that the law will help disrupt the copper and cable theft syndicate.
Listen to the full conversation from The Midday Report with Stephen Grootes: