Avatar photo

By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

‘Crime affects response times’ – City Power after technicians robbed at gunpoint in Roodepoort

Joburg's electricity utility says it won't hesitate to withdraw teams from dangerous areas.

Four City Power technicians were attending to a fault in Roodepoort, when they were robbed of their cellphones and wallets at gunpoint.

This is just the latest in a string of violent incidents, some of which have affected the response times to power outages, Joburg’s electricity utility spokesperson Isaac Mangena said on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Joburg still has a backlog of power outages due to storms

“The team was on the way to replace a faulty pole transformer in Block 5A (Ebumnandini) when three men ambushed and robbed them of their cellphones and wallets. The team had to withdraw back to the Roodepoort service delivery centre,” he said of the incident that occurred the day before.

“The violent incident has unfortunately lengthened the duration of the outage. An assessment will be made to determine whether it’s safe for our workers to return and carry out repairs.”

Mangena added this comes two weeks after an incident of hijacking and robbery was experienced by technicians in Lenasia South.

“In that case three technicians, who were testing faulty cable in the area, were also attacked at gunpoint. The hijackers drove away with our car which has since been recovered.”

The utility has struggled with rampant vandalism in Tshepisong, where the technicians were ambushed.

‘Technicians bear the brunt’

“Our employees are increasingly bearing the brunt of this criminal trend. As the entity we have made counseling services available to the employees affected as well as other measures that they may require,” Mangena added.

“However, the attacks are dangerous and unsustainable and are likely to make the utility review its operation particularly in hot-spot areas.”

ALSO READ: Electricity thief electrocuted in Roodepoort, power disrupted

Mangena called on residents to assist in the fight against vandalism and crime by alerting authorities when they see something suspicious, through community policing forums and call centres.

“While we have an option to request escorts from JMPD to enable us to render service to the communities, it is increasingly becoming unsustainable. Sadly, this may affect our response times to outages in hostile areas.

“City Power wishes to reiterate that it will not hesitate to pull out teams from any area where their safety is at risk.”

Read more on these topics

City Power Electricity Power Outage Roodepoort

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits