File picture: Chris Collingridge/Independent Media

Cape Town - Three contracted security guards were held at gunpoint and assaulted as thieves stole copper cables worth R41 000 in Gugulethu.

City utility services mayoral committee member Ernest Sonnenberg said one of the guards had been hit on the head with his weapon.

The security guards were also robbed of personal belongings and their security jackets.

The cable thieves scaled the spiked wall of the Gugulethu Electricity Depot before overpowering the guards who were forced to the ground at gunpoint.

The incident took place early on Wednesday and the matter had been reported to the police, Sonnenberg said.

“The trend of violence associated with the cable theft is simply unacceptable,” he said.

“The city contracts security guards to protect our vital infrastructure to ensure that we can maintain our high levels of service delivery”.

Damages to the city’s electrical equipment have been regularly reported across the city.

Sonnenberg said the money spent replacing damaged infrastructure by theft or vandalism could have been spent on on services.

“We will not give up on our endeavours to ensure a high level of service delivery in Cape Town, but we also need residents, communities and the South African Police Service to work with us.

“I appeal to anyone with information on the culprits to contact the city’s metals theft unit,” Sonnenberg said.

Since January the city has spent R500 000 to repair and to safeguard cables from theft by replacing copper cables with aluminium.

Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said he could not confirm the incident due to yesterday’s power outage.

In January, 60m of copper cable worth R20 000 was stolen when thieves dug a hole under the fence of the city’s depot in Brackenfell.

A month earlier, 230kg of copper was stolen in Mfuleni after guards were forced to dig up cables at gunpoint. - Cape Times