Scramble to restore electricity as City Power deals with 17 incidents of cable theft, vandalism

Many areas in and around the City of Joburg have been without power since Friday.

PHOTO: Alfonso Nqunjana/News24

  • Cable theft and malicious damage to electricity infrastructure have left many areas under the City of Joburg administration without power.
  • Since Friday, 17 incidents of cable theft and vandalism have occurred in the city.
  • One person has since been arrested.

Many areas in and around the City of Joburg have been without power since Friday after at least 17 incidents of cable theft and vandalism were reported.

One person has since been arrested.

Eight of the incidents happened in the Roodepoort area, confirmed City of Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

Mangena said the City received about 670 electricity outage calls, of which roughly 150 concerned places that had been without power for over 24 hours in Roodepoort. 

Mangena noted with concern the lasting effect of cable theft within the city’s operations area.

“The problem of cable theft continues to be a sore point in our operations as it disrupts power supply to the customers.

“It’s the reason we were dealing with many outages throughout the weekend,” he said. 

READ | City of Joburg warns of load shedding impact on ageing infrastructure, fears increased cable theft

As a result of the floods that ravaged the province and the ongoing load shedding, Mangena has deemed cable theft one of the most pressing issues facing the City, and which hampers their efforts.

“Our teams have been doing very well in dealing with the backlogs we encountered in the last few weeks. “We are recovering from thunderstorms, floods… load shedding, but cable theft continues to be the problem and takes us back in our efforts.”

Mangena has urged residents to be vigilant and report all suspicious activities around electricity infrastructure to the police. 

He said:

We appeal to the police to do more to assist with patrols in the hotspot areas and ensure the culprits are arrested and punished.

In a statement on Sunday, City Power confirmed the malicious damage to infrastructure in Florida the same night the cable was replaced.

Parts of Florida View, Rand Leases Extension Five and parts of Fleurhof were affected.

In the statement, the City said they had managed to back-feed some of the affected customers. 

However, they were in various sites, working on identifying possibilities of back-feeding more areas, he said.

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While it was suggested that repairs and restorations to the areas affected by power outages would take time, the City said it was still sourcing material to replace the stolen cable and repair the vandalised equipment. 

The City also stated that on Thursday it would meet in Florida with the South African Police Service, Community Policing Forum, Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, neighbourhood watch, private security and councillors to put in motion plans to deal with this problem.