City Power nabs 15 thugs, including employees, for cable theft and vandalism

Joburg City Power chief executive Tshifularo Mashava.

Joburg City Power chief executive Tshifularo Mashava.

Published Jun 30, 2024


Power outages continue to be a headache to hundreds of Johannesburg residents, municipal utility City Power attributes this challenge to theft and vandalism.

This weekend, City Power made a breakthrough, of the 15 suspected cable thieves, nine are security officers contracted by the municipal utility.

City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava has welcomed the arrest during an intelligence operation led by the entity, as efforts to combat the scourge of cable theft and vandalism intensifies.

Mashava said this was something they found deeply concerning.

These security officers are among some of the internal collaborators that City Power have been tracking and vowed to bring down in the process of fighting back against the destructive acts of tampering with essential infrastructure.

She said this group of suspects were nabbed between Friday and Saturday morning during a multi-pronged joint operation between the entity’s Security Risk Management and law enforcement agencies led by SAPS Essential Infrastructure Task Team.

The first three suspects were caught at a scrap metal dealership in the Joburg CBD. Leads were followed on more and later in the evening, three more men were arrested in the Inner-city along the underground tunnels.

Mashava said this was particularly worrying given the catastrophic destruction that occurred several weeks ago in Braamfontein as a result of theft and vandalism in these tunnels.

In Reuven at City Power head offices, two security guards were handcuffed after the cable that was found and confiscated from a scrap metal dealer in the inner city was found in their car ready to be taken out of the salvage yard. Seven other guards were also captured during the intelligence operation.

“City Power finds the involvement of contracted security officers particularly worrying, because these are the people that have been entrusted with the duty of safeguarding our infrastructure,” said Mashava.

She further said: “These arrests are testament of our unwavering resolve as the municipal utility, in dealing

with the problem of theft and vandalism, whether perpetrated by outsiders or those from within. Early this financial year we reinforced our security operations with extra intelligence and technology

muscle to unmask some of these internal collaborators”.

Mashava said they strongly condemn the conduct and assure the public that even those among them implicated will not be spared.

“We have never ruled out the involvement of our contractors and staff in the theft and vandalism problem. This involvement of internal staff undermines efforts of combating the scourge and that's why City Power has tightened its internal controls and involved law enforcement agencies to help in rooting out these destructive elements," she said.

City Power cautioned internal staff that the net is closing in on everyone who is involved in the destructive business of vandalism.

“This warning goes to City Power employees and those contracted to do work on behalf of the entity. The entity will spare no attempt in making sure

that everyone arrested, face the full might of the law. We commend the collaborative work with the SAPS, JMPD, community policing forums and private security in different parts of Johannesburg in dealing with cable theft and vandalism,” said Mashava.

Last week power utility Eskom welcomed the sentencing of John Tazvivinga for tampering with Eskom infrastructure for contravening section 3(1) of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 18 of 2015.

The Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court convicted Tazvivinga, a former consultant of Inkitha Royal Empire Construction.

Tazvivinga was sentenced to five years in prison with the sentence wholly suspended for five years, provided he does not commit a similar offence during the suspension period.

Additionally, the company has been ordered to pay a R10 000 fine. Eskom said under this pretence, he was hired by residents to connect electricity for which he received R120 000.

“Eskom strongly condemns, and will not tolerate, any impersonation of its business and staff by anyone,” said Botse Sikhwitshi, the acting general manager for security at Eskom.