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By Citizen Reporter


Theft , vandalism of electricity infrastructure have risen to ‘disastrous proportions’ – Eskom

Eskom has urged community members to report suspicious activities on its electricity infrastructure.

Eskom has again bemoaned the vandalism and theft and electricity infrastructure in Gauteng, which it says have risen to “disastrous proportions”.

In a statement on Thursday, Eskom said the crime threatens essential services and the lives of innocent people due to exposed live cables.

“Eskom has reported concerning levels of damage to its network such as transformers and substations, leading to prolonged outages to customers, including essential services,” it said.

On Wednesday, electricity supply to Rand Water in the City of Ekurhuleni was affected due to the vandalism of insulators at the Mapleton line, putting essential water supply at risk for the residents of Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Lesedi, Govan Mbeki and Thembisile Hani Local Municipalities.

PHOTOS: These Roodepoort areas are affected by 17-metre cable theft

“The vandalism and theft have extended to include pylons whose tower members are often
stolen by unscrupulous criminal elements, resulting in the steel structures collapsing and
posing extreme danger to members of the public.

“The vandalism and theft of infrastructure also come at a great financial loss to the power utility, which is forced to replace the same at significant and unsustainable costs, further threatening its liquidity and mandate to provide electricity.”

Community partnerships

Eskom said one of the ways to curb vandalism and theft is through partnership with communities, who can help by reporting such cases.

ALSO READ: Not paying for electricity is theft, says new Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse

Three men appeared before the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court last month after being arrested on a tip-off by community members for being in possession of pylon tower members valued at R25 000.

“This was a result of working together with the community members and other stakeholders.”

Power outages due to vandalism

Last month, parts of Johannesburg were plunged into darkness due to “criminal activities” .

The power outages affected a number of areas including Florida, Maraisburg, Witpoortjie, Honeydew, Constantia Kloof, Helderkruin, Wilgeheuwel, Weltevreden Park, and Discovery on the West Rand.

WATCH: Parts of Joburg south plunged into darkness after substation catches fire

At the time, City Power indicated that cable theft was causing the outages.

“This past week we were really responding to issues of vandalism of our infrastructure and also cable theft. It’s something that’s going on for some time,” City Power spokesperson, Isaac Mangena told eNCA.

Mangena also confirmed that a person died while trying to steal cables after gaining access into a substation in Newlands.

Read more on these topics

cable theft Eskom Rolling blackouts vandalism