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Cable thieves run rampant during load shedding – Durban suburbs without electricity for days on end

A picture of stolen copper cables recovered by police in Umkomaas in KZN last year.

Stolen copper cables recovered by police in Umkomaas in KZN last year. Picture: SAPS

Published May 26, 2023


Residents living in various Durban suburbs have been left in darkness for up to four days at a time due to rampant cable theft.

Earlier this week, some Manor Gardens and Glenwood residents were left in the dark for over 36 hours after cables were stolen.

The cables were stolen during load shedding - an opportune time for load shedding thieves.

Residents were due to load shed from 4pm – 6pm on Monday, however, electricity went out moments before 4pm and some homes had their electricity restored by 4am on Wednesday.

In communication between the local neighbourhood watch and the City, an official said there was a fault on a main feeder cable and and teams were working to restore electricity.

“The other feeder cable from Ridgeview Major substation to 2 Kaladen Rd DSS was affected by cable theft,” the official said.

Speaking to IOL, City spokesperson Lindiwe Khuzwayo, said cable theft is a serious issue in the community. The City said it cost them R40 million to replace six tons of stolen cables in the past financial year.

“The City has always taken a strong stance against the theft of cables as this often leads to devastating and tragic consequences, such as loss of life as well as damage to infrastructure costing the municipality millions annually,” Khuzwayo said.

Stolen copper cables recovered by police in Umkomaas in KZN last year. Picture: SAPS

She said when such matters are reported to the City, reports are handed to the infrastructure theft division and relevant law enforcement officers for investigation.

“Customers are urged to assist us by reporting cable theft at it happens by reporting it to our dedicated security service providers that are working together with the City, to clamp down on infrastructure theft across all regions,” Khuzwayo said.

She said the City has a zero tolerance stance on crime, including any that may be perpetrated by employees.

“Any employee found to be in contravention of the law will face its full might as well as the appropriate internal disciplinary action,” Khuzwayo said.

This week, cables were stolen in Ferguson Road in Glenwood, this left residents without electricity for most of the afternoon.

Earlier this month, two former police officers were sentenced on a charge of damage to essential infrastructure.

Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Simphiwe Mhlongo, said in June 2021, the Umkomaas SAPS task team was patrolling in uMlazi when they noticed a marked police van and white bakkie parked on the side of the road.

“They approached the vehicles and noticed that there was a tow truck pulling out a copper cable. Members confronted the accused and identified themselves as police officials. They established that the accused, Sergeant Zwelihle Mngadi, 46, and Sergeant Luvuyo Mbixane 43, and Mandla Mgaga, were stealing the copper cable and it was positively identified by Telkom. The three were placed under arrest and charged accordingly,” he said.

They were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Cable theft can be reported to the following service providers:

Thembanathi Security Services (southern, central and south-western)

Control room cable theft line: 031 311 9611, WhatsApp Control: 081 425 5295 or email [email protected].

Real Sec Security (northern, western and north-western)

Control room cable theft line: 031 311 9835, WhatsApp Control room: 069 769 4423 or email [email protected].