03 February 2021
Staff Reporter/ PretoriaLIVE
Pretoria – The scourge of cable theft, damage to and tampering with essential infrastructure continue on daily basis at the length and breadth of City Power area of supply.
Spokesperson Isaac Mangena said attempts to steal copper cables and substantial damage on a major substation was foiled by City Power security officers.
“On Friday, 29 January 2021 at about 01:00 two intruders broke into City Power Pennyville substation. Once inside the intruders started to hack-saw copper cables running through various ground ducts in the substation.”
“The security officers deployed at the substation detected the intruders, called for armed back up. The intruders were cornered inside the substation and subsequently arrested and processed to Orlando Police Station,” Mangena said.
Criminal charges of damage to, alternatively tampering with essential infrastructure was preferred against the suspects with CAS No: 484/01/2021. One hacksaw and 7metres x 25mm x 3.2 core copper cable was found at the scene.
Meanwhile, Mr Sergeant Thela, General Manager Security Risk Management at City Power applauded the vigilance and fearlessness of the security officers in how they cornered the suspects and coordinating with the police to ensure they are arrested.
“The security officers saved City Power millions of rands. Quite often, damage to electricity infrastructure at substation level cause explosions and extensive fire which raze down the substation and result to prolonged outages and repair costs. We accordingly trust the SAPS will thoroughly investigate the crime to ensure successful conviction and stiff sentence befitting the crime,” Thela added.
City Power acting CEO Nancy Maluleke expressed concern at the spike in the number of cable theft in the past two months from December. Just over 200 incidents of cable theft were recorded.
Since the beginning of the financial year, about R14.4m worth of cables were stolen, with at least 43 suspects arrested.
“This is a worrying trend because electricity supply is critical infrastructure essential for the functioning of other dependent essential infrastructure such as health sector, information communication technology, telecommunications, water infrastructures, banking sector, enforcement agency, government and private sector business and the general CoJ citizens.
“Businesses, especially small businesses, suffer a lot at a time when the country is going through the pandemic,” said Ms Maluleke.
She added that whilst City Power is working on mult-dimensional strategies to curb the scourge, the utility urge communities to report essential infrastructure crimes – cable theft, vandalism, illegal connection – to the local SAPS and City Power Security Control Room at:
011 490 7900, 490 7911, 490 7553.