Strandfontein Road had more than 100 individual street lights damaged in a short time, pointing to potential criminal syndicate activity. File picture: NIC BOTHMA/EPA
Strandfontein Road had more than 100 individual street lights damaged in a short time, pointing to potential criminal syndicate activity. File picture: NIC BOTHMA/EPA

Street light theft keeps Cape residents in the dark

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has said it is battling with theft of street lights, with Strandfontein Road in Mitchells Plain worst affected.

The City’s Electricity Generation and Distribution Department has called on the public to alert them about criminal activities including stealing of electricity and electricity infrastructure.

Strandfontein Road had more than 100 individual street lights damaged in a short time, pointing to potential criminal syndicate activity. The costs of the damage for the area alone is estimated at R600 000.

“Criminals have managed to steal the complete electric light units of several lamp poles, which are more than 11 metres high. This type of action does not happen without anyone seeing it. We urge residents across the metro to help us keep the lights on in our communities by reporting any suspicious activities to police or to the City,” said a spokesperson.

Other affected areas include Philippi, Muizenberg and Wynberg.

The department spent R4.6 million between July and December last year to replace or repair damaged and stolen infrastructure in these areas alone.

Strandfontein Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Sandy Schuter said that in Spine Road most street lights had been damaged due to theft. He said the CPF, neighbourhood watches and police had increased surveillance and patrols alongside Spine Road, with a number of arrests made.

“After their court appearance, they are released, only to continue to committing their crime.

“As a community, we’re angry and frustrated that we have to drive on a very dark road daily. It’s not safe and often vehicles are being stoned on Spine Road and you cannot see which side it’s coming from.”

Schuters said cables were cut, burnt and then sold. Camp Road, Strandfontein, was in darkness due to cable theft, she said.

“Over the years the City never could restore lights in the road because they will be stolen again.”

Cape Argus

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