The officers were tipped off about suspects in a grey Mercedes-Benz who were vandalising electricity substations.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said officers located the vehicle at a parking area of a substation in Scheiding Street in the CBD in the late afternoon.
While in the parking area, they heard people working inside the substation. They went in and found two men ripping out cables.
When questioned, the two men allegedly said they were employed by the City and were there on official duty.
“The officers investigated the matter and found that one of the men was indeed a City of Tshwane employee, but was not authorised to perform such duties. The other was a well-known local DJ,” said Mahamba.
Meanwhile, another suspect is desperately fighting for his life at Kalafong Hospital in Atteridgeville after an attempted cable theft went wrong.
Again, community members were instrumental in tipping off officers at around 7am yesterday. The officers found four people digging up cables behind the Pretoria West Hospital.
While the officers were on their way, they were told that three suspects were fleeing from the scene and one was walking to the hospital.
The officers rushed to the hospital where nurses confirmed that one man had walked in with severe burn wounds.
The SAPS was notified, and the suspect is under police guard while receiving treatment in the hospital.
“According to the doctor, it’s really not looking good for the man. He is in serious, critical condition. If he survives, his limbs will have to be amputated,” said Mahamba.
Mahamba said officers were continuing their search for the other three suspects.
He warned that cable theft did not only cause electricity outages but also posed a serious danger to community members because of the live wires left hanging.
“This incident should also be a lesson to people who steal cables.
“We commend community members who are working together with us to curb this serious crime. Together we will continue to fight cable theft in Tshwane.”
The MMC for Utility Services, Darryl Moss, previously said the City was losing a whopping R200 million each year to cable theft. In 2012, then police minister Nathi Mthethwa estimated that cable theft cost South Africa in the region of R5 billion a year.
According to Moss, cable theft varied from opportunistic theft of small lengths of cable, mostly overhead electricity lines, to heavy underground cables or cable theft from substations and water treatment plants. “These are professional and syndicated.”