Picture: Supplied/City Power.

JOHANNESBURG - Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Tuesday that sabotage was to blame, not an electrical fault, for the explosion at Eikenhof substation that resulted in a massive power outage and disrupted water supply.

The 88/11Kv substation located adjacent to Rand Water Board in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, caught fire at around lunchtime on Monday, resulting in power outages in areas and businesses that include Naturena, Kibler Park, Eikenhof, South Fork, Lougherin, Alveda, Rand Water, Joburg Water, and the Johannesburg Prison.

In a statement, Mashaba said that a video had emerged which apparently proved that the fire had originated outside the transformer at the substation after the transformer had allegedly been maliciously damaged so that it would leak oil onto the fire. 

Mashaba said this was simply not consistent with a fire originating from an electrical fault.

"This afternoon, it was brought to my attention that City Power officials suspect that the cause of the fire at Eikenhof substation on Monday may have been the result of a deliberate act of sabotage," Mashaba said. 

"Evidence of this can be seen here. I have requested that City Power immediately refer this matter to the City’s Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) and the South African Police Services for further investigation." 

City Power engineers and technicians worked have been working throughout the night to repair the substation.

The substation provides electricity to large surrounding areas of residents and businesses, including the Rand Water facility in the vicinity. The Rand Water infrastructure, powered by this substation, pumps water to approximately 40 percent of Johannesburg, as well as parts of the West Rand and Rustenberg.

Mashaba said a newly refurbished transformer had been brought in, and estimated that repairs on the residential lines should be done by 6pm in Tuesday evening. He said power should return to Rand Water pumps and all affected areas should be fully restored within the next 24 hours. 

Mashaba said that working with law enforcement agencies and the NPA, he would bring the perpetrators of this alleged act to justice in the harshest possible manner.

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African News Agency (ANA)