THIRTY heavily armed thieves attempted to steal copper cables from an Eskom customer centre in Soweto, resulting in one Eskom-contracted security officer being fatally wounded.
On Tuesday, January 11, seven contracted security officers were on the way back to their post at Mapetla substation from Eskom Klipspruit’s Customer Network Centre (CNC).
“It is alleged that the suspects were attempting to steal the City Power copper cable when the team of seven security officers drove towards them,” the state-owned national power supplier said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 30 heavily armed suspects allegedly opened fire on the team of seven security officers.
One security officer, who was not named, succumbed to head injuries sustained from the attack two days later, on January 13.
“Eskom sympathises with the family of the deceased security officer and is deeply concerned about such criminal acts that cost the life of a breadwinner,” Eskom Gauteng’s safety, health, environment, quality and security (SHEQS) manager Kith Maitisa said.
“Our role is to provide safe and reliable electricity to customers. However, such acts have a negative impact on us achieving this obligation,” Maitisa adds.
Maitisa said that employees would be recalled if there was a risk to their safety.
The case is currently being investigated by the SAPS.
The power utility states a continued increase in theft and vandalism of its infrastructure is too much to handle, even with the control measures that are in place.
IOL has reported multiple incidents of vandalism and theft of Eskom’s infrastructure, which often results in unforeseen power outages.
Eskom urges the public to report any suspicious activities, anonymously, to its crime line (0800 11 27 22) or the nearest police station.