City of Joburg says it can’t promise residents constant power supply due to cable theft
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Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg cannot promise its residents an uninterrupted electricity supply.
This was revealed by the city’s Environment and Infrastructure Department spokesperson, Stanley Itshegetseng, who stated that cable theft has set them back.
The city’s struggle with cable theft and infrastructure vandalism has been well documented, following City Power’s R2 billion loss in non-technical losses.
Since the start of the current financial year, the city is said to have lost cables worth more than R14m to theft, plunging many suburbs into darkness for many days, and some for weeks.
Itshegetseng said that this excludes the cost of the actual repair work to the infrastructure and material.
Since January 2021, City Power has had 144 incidents of cable theft to the value of R2.2m. Last year, in December, there were 206 incidents of cable theft.
“Most of these incidents happened during the recent load shedding stage 2 that was implemented across the country, although cable theft happens when the lights are on.”
On Wednesday last week 11 cable theft incidents were reported, and six on Thursday.
Itshegetseng said they have noted that some of the city’s cables are stolen for illegal connections.
“Our communities know who is behind this kind of theft, which hinders service delivery. We have noted that a lot of these illegal connections come from our suburbs, such as Dainfern and Sandton.”
The city’s Environment and Infrastructure Department MMC, Mpho Moerane, has since called on law enforcement agencies, neighbourhood watches, and CPFs to join hands with City Power to assist in curbing the scourge.
Forty-one suspects have been arrested from July 2020 to date, with two arrested in January and 11 in December.
Moerane stressed that cable theft does not only cost the city millions in lost revenue, but also inconveniences customers and businesses during a time when the country is experiencing Covid19 restrictions.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said continuous power outages owing to cable theft have caused great distress to those working remotely.
As part of its mitigation strategy, the power utility company has been replacing the copper cables with aluminium bundle cables, which have no value to cable thieves.
“These are not lucrative cables and they are not worth that much when you are trying to sell them. They can also draw electricity from a long distance because of their resilience.”
Mangena added that they have also intensified their patrols to look after their infrastructure.
“Each and every ward and substation has a patrol car. We are also relying on our law enforcement agencies. We need police to understand that is a crime against the state,” he said.