Msunduzi Municipality said they were determined to ensure street lights were maintained this winter despite challenges of ongoing vandalism.
Deputy mayor, Mxolisi Mkhize, said service providers are already busy fixing them in different parts of the municipality. He added over 80% of street lights in the municipality have been repaired and they have also installed high mast lights in other areas.
He said Msunduzi was faced with a challenge of vandalism and cable theft. He said in Haniville they fixed the broken street lights and the next day the cables were stolen.
“Cable theft is a serious challenge and it’s fuelled by some business people. The vagrants would not steal our cables if those business people were not buying them. The very same business people that are threatening the municipality over a number of things are highly involved in the cable theft,” said Mkhize.
Due to vandalism of electricity infrastructure, the municipality lost over R90 million in the past year and Mkhize said the amount was increasing.
Msunduzi’s electricity general manager, Ngangenkosi Mpisi, said the amount was increasing because they had to source new parts to repair the damaged infrastructure.
Mkhize said there was also vandalism at substations and this resulted in power outages which inconvenienced residents and businesses. He said he was happy to see two people sentenced to 18 months for stealing copper pipes last month because that could work as a deterrent.
“Fortunately we have cameras in all our substations that are being monitored 24 hours and we are able to see and catch those vandalising our infrastructure,” said Mkhize.
He pleaded with residents and businesses to stop buying stolen cables and other goods.
He added they were working closely with the police and municipal security to curb the vandalism.