Crime

WATCH: City Power nabs 15 cable theft suspects

It worries City Power that some of the suspects are contracted security officers.

City Power (CP) CEO Tshifularo Mashava welcomed the arrest of 15 people during a CP-led intelligence operation, as efforts to combat the scourge of cable theft and vandalism intensify.

She said of the 15 suspected cable thieves, nine are security officers contracted by CP, something they find deeply concerning. These security officers are among some of the internal collaborators they have been tracking and vowed to bring down in the process of fighting back against the destructive acts of tampering with essential infrastructure.

This group of suspects were nabbed between June 28 and 29 during a multi-pronged joint operation between the entity’s security risk management and law enforcement agencies led by the SAPS Essential Infrastructure Task Team. They caught the first three suspects at a scrap metal dealership in the Johannesburg CBD.

The team followed up on leads and later in the evening arrested three more men along the underground tunnels in the inner city. This was particularly worrying given the catastrophic destruction that occurred several weeks ago in Braamfontein because of theft and vandalism in these tunnels.

In Reuven at CP head offices, two security guards were handcuffed after a 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 this intelligence operation.

“CP finds the involvement of contracted security officers particularly worrying because these are the people entrusted with the duty of safeguarding our infrastructure.

“However, these arrests are a testament to 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,” said Mashava.

“We strongly condemn this conduct and assure the public that even those among us 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 CP has tightened its internal controls and involved law enforcement agencies to help root out these destructive elements,” she added.

Stolen cable was found hidden at the back of the driver’s seat in the security vehicle.

CP spokesperson Isaac Mangena said CP warned internal staff that the net is closing in on everyone who was involved in the destructive business of vandalism. This warning goes to CP employees, and those contracted to do work on behalf of the entity.

“The entity will spare no attempt in making sure that everyone arrested faces 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,” he said.

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