The worst affected provinces are KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Eastern Cape and the responsibility to repair lies in the provincial departments.

Ramaphosa said reports from the department of public works and infrastructure indicated there was damage to public infrastructure in Kimberley, Gqeberha and Hout Bay.

These include the theft of cables at a bulk water pump station in Gqeberha, the theft of borehole pumps at two police stations, and damage caused through vandalism at police offices in Qonce, he said.

“We are working to intensify the efforts of law enforcement agencies, working alongside entities like Prasa, to uncover illicit cable trading syndicates and scrap metal dealers in possession of stolen material.”

Answering supplementary questions during the sitting, Ramaphosa said all the damaged public infrastructure were a priority.

“Of course we are facing challenges of a fiscal nature with regards to the availability of funding. That is why when people damage public infrastructure, they must realise that it is easy to damage but to rebuild it is much more expensive in fact, impossibly expensive because now we do not have all the responses.”

Ramaphosa said the government would continue maintaining existing public infrastructure.

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