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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

City Power withdraws overnight services in hotspots in response to escalating attacks

City Power reacts to a spike in violence against its operators, withdrawing overnight services in hotspot areas.

City Power withdraws overnight services in areas that are deemed to be hotspots amid increasing attacks on their operators and other officials.

The power utility revealed that on Sunday, one of their operators, who was on his way to Pennyvile to restore power after load shedding at midday, was held at gunpoint, robbed, and nearly hijacked.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena added that over the weekend, a team of electricians were also robbed of their belongings at gunpoint in Randburg.

“After our operator was attacked in Pennyville, another team sadly had to go to the same area hours later to effect loadshedding restoration, which was a traumatic experience for them,” Mangena said.

According to City Power, almost every month, cases of intimidation, assault, and robbery are reported.

ALSO READ: City Power faces glitch in load shedding transition from Eskom

City Power added that the issue was particularly concerning because, just this year, a large number of other employees have also been hospitalised after being shot at point blank range, robbed of laptops, cellphones, and toolboxes, and hijacked while performing their jobs.

Last month, two female officials were robbed at gunpoint while on duty on Wemmer Street in Roodepoort.

In July, three members of City Power’s team were attacked in Lenasia while responding to a faulty meter problem.

Robbed while working

“The two vehicles they were travelling in were also hijacked during that unfortunate incident. Those cars were later found abandoned in Lawley, near the Meriting Squatter Camp in Lenasia South,” Mangena said.

Numerous teams in Alexandra were attacked and had their possessions stolen last year. A group of technicians was also kidnapped at gunpoint in Far East Bank during that time.

ALSO READ: City Power contractors who demanded R2k from customer nabbed

According to City Power, the more terrifying event that happened around this time last year was when a 53-year-old City Power official was struck by stones and sharp objects multiple times in Hillbrow. As a result, he had to fight for his life in the intensive care unit for more than a month.

“It is for this reason that City Power took a decision to withdraw overnight services in areas that are deemed to be hotspots,” Mangena said.

“Even with additional security measures, we cannot guarantee the safety of our personnel, but this is also not sustainable considering that, at worst, we deal with almost 4000 outage calls that need to be dispatched.”

City Power said that one of the victims of violent attacks told them that before these attacks, their primary concern was protecting themselves from the risks associated with working with electricity.

They now claim that their daily prayer is to come home safely at the end of the day, free from the threat of violence or death at the hands of criminals.

ALSO READ: What City Power really means by its ‘challenges’

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