A suspected cable thief has been shot dead in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, after engaging in gunfire with City Power's private security guards.
The confrontation occurred on Vermont Street in Eldorado Park on Friday, where City Power security personnel were investigating a reported cable theft.
“When they arrived at the scene of the crime, one of the suspects pulled a pistol and fired shots at security officers,” City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.
“The armed officers fired back and the suspect was fatally wounded. A murder inquest has been opened at the Eldorado Park police station,” he said.
A second suspect at the scene was apprehended unharmed.
Found with copper cable and 500 LED streetlight covers suspected to be stolen from a local school, the 22-year-old man is now facing charges related to theft and possession of stolen property.
City Power says this event highlights the growing issue of infrastructure vandalism and cable theft in Johannesburg, which has seen more than 200 reported incidents in January alone.
Just this weekend, City Power recorded 14 incidents of theft and vandalism across the city, including five cases involving damaged streetlights.
The surge in criminal activities has severely impacted City Power's ability to provide consistent electricity supply, prompting an apology from the utility to affected customers.
“Due to the high incidence of theft and vandalism of transformers and mini substations in the City of Johannesburg, the demand for this equipment is higher than what City Power has available in stock. This affects our ability to respond to supply restoration timeously,” Mangena said.
City Power has urged for greater community involvement to protect electrical infrastructure. It says it is enhancing security measures through stakeholder collaboration and advanced technology deployment.
The utility urges residents to assist in combating the widespread issue of cable theft and vandalism to ensure the reliability of Johannesburg's electricity supply.