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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Armed criminals hold up Tshwane security officials, vandalise substation

Gauteng has had several encounters with armed cable thieves this year.

Cable thieves are arming themselves as they target substations around Gauteng, with the latest target being the City of Tshwane’s Wolmer 132 substation.

According to the City of Tshwane, the armed criminals held up security personnel stationed at the substation and tied them down on Sunday night.

ALSO READ: Bring in the army! City Power wants military to help fight cable theft crisis

The criminals proceeded to vandalise and damage the medium voltage equipment and cables in their attempt to steal copper conductors.

Tshwane power cuts

As a result, the areas within the Wolmer 132kv supply network including Tileba, Winternest, Pretoria North and Clarina were plunged into darkness.

The work to replace faulted cables started on Monday as Tshwane. However, upon completion of the repair work, the team identified another cable fault within the substation yard.

This prolonged the power outage in Winternest and Clarina. An additional four underground cable faults on the network rings were identified. This further hindered the restoration of electricity supply to Clarina.

ALSO READ: Criminals are now ‘smoking’ stolen fibre cables

Necessary material for repairs has been secured and repair work is currently underway.

However, Tshwane has condemned community members for allegedly threatening violence against the officials.

“The city understands the frustration caused by this prolonged power outage and would like to plead for patience during this restoration period. All relevant units have been activated to ensure that power gets restored soon,” said Tshwane.

“The city apologises profusely for the inconvenience caused to the affected residents.”

City Power infrastructure vandalism

Like Tshwane, Johannesburg is also faced with the challenge of armed cable thieves.

Earlier this month, City Power said its security officials were involved in a shoot-out with suspected cable thieves near the M1 bridge in Johannesburg, where a fire broke out in an underground tunnel.  

It is believed that cable theft was behind the fire, which left several parts of Joburg including Braamfontein, Page View, Parktown, Melville and Amalgam without power for several days.

The armed criminals were trying to steal the cables that were burnt by the fire.

Earlier this year, a suspected cable thief was killed in a shoot-out with City Power security in Eldorado Park.

ALSO READ: City Power records at least 33 cable theft incidents this week

This suspect was found in possession of copper cables and 500 LED streetlight covers. They were suspected to have been stolen from a nearby school.

In January alone, City Power recorded over 200 cases of cable theft and vandalism.

The entity has asked police commissioner Lieutenant-General Fannie Masemola to help stop cable theft and protect its infrastructure.

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