Pretoria – Joburg’s power utility, City Power has welcomed the arrest of six people, including two of its security officers, for cable theft and vandalism in different areas.
“The two City Power security officers are part of five suspects that include three Mozambican foreign nationals who were arrested at our copper cable storage facility in Booysens on Saturday for theft,” said City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena.
He said since April last year, City Power has been noting signs of theft of the copper cable in the storage facility.
“Strangely, no forced-entry was detected nor physical armed robbery took place. Preliminary investigation revealed that two security officers were in cahoots with external criminal elements,” Mangena said.
“It was established that the security officers would arrange the thieving and organise the criminal elements to come through the back of the premises. They will then aid them to scale over the parameter or make an opening on the fence and take them to the copper cables to be cut and stolen.”
The security guards would also assist the thieves to take the cut cables over the fence.
“We believe they have been doing this for some time, and (we) suspect that there are more internal members involved. The suspects were booked at Booysens police station and will be in court soon,” Mangena said.
In another incident, a man was arrested in Moffatview for cable theft, after he was found with three stolen copper cables.
“As mentioned, load shedding exacerbates the incidents of cable theft with more incidents happening when the lights are off. Just this weekend at least 23 incidents of theft of cables, fuses and batteries, as well as vandalism, were reported in different areas across the City of Joburg,” Mangena said.
“City Power is pleased with the above arrests and hope it will produce a stiff sentence that fits the crime to serve as a deterrent to the cable thieves. A week ago, a suspect who was arrested damaging a transformer in our Jeppe substation was convicted to a five-year direct imprisonment.”
Head of security management at City Power, Sergeant Thela said the involvement of security personnel in the theft is worrying.
“While we are happy about the arrests and convictions, we are worried about the involvement of our security members in cable theft crimes. As mentioned in the past, we are working well with the SAPS-driven essential infrastructure task teams to root out essential infrastructure crimes in the City of Joburg,” Thela said .
“This will include arresting and prosecuting our own staff members if they are involved in these crimes.”