City of Joburg loses R2bn to cable theft and vandalism
Johannesburg - City of Joburg continues with its fight against infrastructure theft and vandalism across the city.
City Power has lost at least R2 billion in non-technical losses, which include cable theft. This led to continuous power outages towards the end of last year, mostly caused by cable theft in the City.
The City’s MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Mpho Moerane, recently welcomed an eight year prison sentence handed to a copper cable thief in Turffontein.
The thief was arrested in April last year after being found with electrical copper cables, and while trying to steal more. He was charged with tampering with infrastructure and cable theft.
“We welcome the stiff sentence imposed on this thief, which we believe fits the crime committed. The problem of vandalism and theft of copper cables is a serious one which disrupts normal life and economic activity in the City,” said Moerane.
Moerane praised community members who are protecting infrastructure against vandals and assisted in the arrest of the thief.
Moerane urged residents to take ownership of the infrastructure and report any vandalism and theft of copper cables to City Power security or the SAPS.
“We commend residents for protecting the infrastructure. We urge Joburg residents to report vandalism and theft of infrastructure. More so because when this infrastructure is vandalised, the inconvenience is felt by the same communities.”
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena has conceded that the power utility company has a problem of vandalism. He said the City set aside a budget every year to upgrade its old infrastructure. “We have to remember that some parts of this infrastructure, like substations, are hard to find in the market.”
Mangena said the City has 18 000 old substations chambers, which makes it difficult to monitor each of them.
“We do have patrolling security services. JMPD is also active and hard at work on the ground, ensuring that these chambers are not hijacked.
“Some suspects do not get away alive. In the last financial year, we had about three cases where they were electrocuted to death. This was in Eldorado and West Bury.”
Mangena pleaded with community members to report infrastructure theft and vandalism. “When someone fiddles with infrastructure it may trip; it might also explode or burn. This will take a while for us to repair, which will then inconvenience businesses and the community at large.”