Johannesburg - The cost of copper theft to the economy had yet to stabilise, although there had been a drop in figures for December, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Wednesday.
This was according to Sacci's Copper Theft Barometer, launched in December, which hopes to help reduce the R5bn this crime costs the economy each year.
"The December figures are down to R17.55m. This represents a marginal reduction from the November figure of R18m, but remains notably above the mid-year figure of R15.66m," Sacci said.
"As distinct from previous years, there wasn't an upward surge in theft activity in the last quarter of 2010.
"In 2010 there were fairly stable levels of copper theft since June of between R16m and R18m. In addition to the improved economic circumstances compared to 2009, the anti-theft strategies of the enterprises involved in this area appears to have paid dividends."
The total cost for 2010 was R259m.
The barometer is an indicator of the estimated cost of replacing copper cable stolen from major users Transnet, Telkom, and Eskom.