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JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg’s City Power has said that it plans to start with restoration of power to affected customers in the inner city on Saturday morning.

This comes as large portions of the city have been plunged into darkness following a fire on Sunday morning at an underground tunnel that was caused by cable thieves. 

City Power said the damage to the cables had resulted from fire during the cable theft, affecting multiple feeders and load centre at various sub stations in the central business district.

City Power spokesperson Sol Masolo said their technical team had worked throughout the night on Wednesday to repair and replace damaged, burned and stolen cables in the city tunnels.

"The team is currently on schedule with the repair work and will continue to work on a 24-hour basis until electricity is restored to all affected residents in the City of Johannesburg," Masolo said.

"City Power once more apologises to all affected customers in the city centre to bear with it while repair work is ongoing."

The cables were stolen from underground tunnels running under the streets. The City’s investigation team led by the group forensic investigation department had so far arrested 22 people in connection with the recent cable theft.

Three scrapyard owners were arrested on Tuesday for possession of copper cables stolen from the inner city. A vast cache of other stolen City infrastructure was identified and seized across three scrapyards during the course of the operation. 

It is estimated that 45% of the power outages in the City were caused by cable theft.

Areas still affected by the outage include ABSA Centre, Carlton Centre, Section of Selby, and streets including Fox, Main, Marshall, Albert, Bree, De Villiers, Jeppe, Pritchard, Von Brandis, Commissioner, End, Kerk, Von Weillegh, President, Albertina Sisulu and Mooi.

- AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY