City Power cracks down on cable theft and vandalism

Published Jul 5, 2024


A City Power employee, a contractor and three others have been arrested on charges related to alleged copper cable theft and vandalism.

Other arrests include security guards who have been arrested as law enforcement cracks down on the cable theft.

The agency said more than 18 suspects were arrested on allegations of cable theft and vandalism of the City Power infrastructure, since the weekend.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said on Tuesday when a 41-year-old staffer in the security department was arrested at their head office on Tuesday.

"The 41-year-old male who was working in the security department is alleged to have stolen copper pipes from scrap metal dealers under the guise of returning them to City Power premises.

“On Wednesday, an employee of one of City Power's service providers responsible for maintenance was found in possession of copper metals. The 30-year-old man was working in the Joburg CBD along Ntemi Piliso when he was caught trying to leave work site with pieces of copper material in his possession,” said Mangena.

City Power chief executive Tshifularo Mashava has commended the law enforcement agencies for their support and praised the internal Security Risk Management team for their efforts in building strong cases.

“We are pleased with these developments because they reflect our continued commitment and ceaseless efforts in combating the problem of theft and vandalism – that has so far cost Joburg’s power utility over R160 million – since the start of the year.”

She expressed her concern over the involvement of City Power employees in acts of theft and vandalism.

“The involvement of contracted security officers and now one of the employees is something we find particularly worrying, because these are the people that have been entrusted with the duty of safeguarding our infrastructure.

“However, these arrests are testament of our unwavering resolve as the municipal utility, in dealing with the problem of theft and vandalism, whether perpetrated by outsiders or those from within.

“Early this financial year we reinforced our security operations with extra intelligence and technology muscle to unmask some of these internal collaborators," said Ms Mashava.

Other arrests include a 30-year-old maintenance worker for a City Power service provider was apprehended on Wednesday, July 3, in the Joburg CBD.

A joint intelligence operation has led to the arrest of nine City Power contracted guards and three additional suspects for their alleged involvement in the theft and vandalism of essential infrastructure.

The guards were apprehended over the weekend, while the trio was caught in the act on July 2 in the Booysens area.

The three suspects, aged in their thirties, were found digging and laying aluminium cable from a pole, and were in possession of tools used to damage infrastructure, including a step ladder, 6 metre cable, spade, and cutting tools.

They have been charged with tampering with essential infrastructure and illegal connections.

The suspects, including nine contracted guards, were caught over the weekend in various parts of the Inner-city and Reuven.

The operation, led by the SAPS Essential Infrastructure Task Team, also resulted in the confiscation of stolen cable bundles from three scrap metal dealers.

"We strongly condemn this conduct and assure the public that even those among us implicated will not be spared. We have never ruled out the involvement of our contractors and staff in the theft and vandalism problem.

“This involvement of internal staff undermines efforts of combating the scourge and that's why City Power has tightened its internal controls and involved law enforcement agencies to help in rooting out these destructive elements," she added.

The suspects, were charged with tampering with essential infrastructure and illegal connections. They are due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on July 8.

IOL News