Vandalism, threats to staff condemned by City of Cape Town
Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has strongly condemned the vandalism of infrastructure and threats to staff.
The City said three sewer pump stations had been vandalised over the past three months, and a team was robbed at gunpoint while working to bring water supply to Monwabisi Park informal settlement.
The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg: ’’We condemn these actions in the strongest terms and we cannot tolerate opportunistic criminals placing our staff’s lives at risk, who are there to deliver services to residents and improve living conditions.
’’We are relieved to know that none of our staff were physically injured but this has been a traumatic experience for them, and as such, they are receiving trauma counselling.
’’Regarding the vandalism, residents in the Philippi West and Heinz Park areas can be assured the City is doing all it can to ensure that the repairs are done as soon as possible so these pump stations can be fully operational again.
’’We call on residents in these areas to please continue to report any overflows they might experience. This will help the City manage the situation more effectively, and it ensures that possibly undetected overflows in the area from unrelated blockages or system faults receive attention as quickly as possible.
’’This area is a known hotspot for dumping into sewers and flushing inappropriate objects into the system. Preventing overflows was an ongoing challenge before the pump station failure.
’’The City will continue to clear sewer blockages and overflows as soon as possible.
‘In the meantime, the City is investigating contingency measures where possible, while prioritising the safety of our staff and infrastructure, as well as the well-being of our residents.“
The following incidents were highlighted:
* On Monday, 18 January work on the water supply project in Monwabisi Park came to an abrupt hold at about 15:30, when three opportunistic criminals approached three members of staff, who were on site to oversee work being done by contractors, as well as a community member.
One of the criminals held the team at gunpoint, robbed them of their personal items, two City radios, and tools. The team was then told to get into a trench while the criminals made their escape.
The criminals also made off with the City-hired bakkie. Work on site was suspended for the rest of the day but the contractors resumed work on the Tuesday.
* On Friday, 15 January, the electrical control panel at Philippi West Pump Station was found to be vandalised and wires were removed. This panel is critical in the operation of these facilities. In two previous incidents, cables were also dug up and stolen from this pump station.
* On Friday 8 January: the electronic control panel at Heinz Park Pump Station was also found to be vandalised.
* On Monday 28 December, vandals removed the fencing and dug out an Eskom cable feeding to the new Durbanville Business Park Pump Station, which is not operational yet.
Cases have been reported to the South African Police Service for investigation.
’’We urge anyone who has any information regarding these incidents to please report it to the SAPS as soon as possible so they can investigate.
’’We need the community to be our eyes and ears as we cannot afford to see service delivery to vulnerable communities be hijacked by a few opportunistic criminals,“ said Limberg.