Cables stolen three times in a week

Many residents had the constant sound of generators running in the back ground to keep the fridges and freezers cold, while candles burnt out on the tables as children tried to do homework in the dark.
For most mothers it was a very dark Mother’s Day as the power was switched off for maintenance.

On Friday, May 6 a notice was sent out by Emalahleni City Council that Eskom would carry out maintenance at the Doornpoort Substation on Sunday, May 8 from 09:00 to 16:00. This came after the electrical cable in Mandela Street was stolen for the third time.

Most of eMalahleni was without the power for the day, so at 16:00 everyone was expecting the power to come back on. In parts of eMalahleni the power only came back on at 17:30 while in some other parts it came back at 21:00.
According Mr Theo Van Vuuren, Municipal Manager the maintenance was a pre-planned event which was scheduled due to urgent work that needed to be performed on electrical equipment, which if left unattended would have resulted in a prolonged outage of a number of days. The initial plan was for the work to be carried out the previous week which unfortunately happened to be on a long weekend and was thus moved over to the past weekend.

“It should be noted that the maintenance of critical electrical equipment cannot be compromised due to the huge negative impact that can result from non-action. The scheduling of the maintenance is collaboration between Eskom and the Municipality wherein both parties agree on a set date before the works are carried,” said Van Vuuren.

So on Friday morning residents in Del Judor extensions woke up to no electricity once again as the cables that were laid on Wednesday, May 4 were stolen once again.

On Tuesday morning, May 3 25m of electrical cable were stolen. Technicians started working on the problem immediately.

The power failure in Model Park and surroundings was due to a transformer blowing.
On Friday morning, April 29 16 metres of cable were stolen.
Van Vuuren commented on the cable theft. The theft of copper cables is a country wide problem and is not just confined to Emalahleni.

“It should also be taken into consideration that the Municipality is suffering losses due to cable theft on a daily basis, not only affecting Del Judor but also other suburbs within the city,” said Van Vuuren.

The Municipality currently runs a vast underground network of cable across the city which makes it near impossible to protect against cable thieves.

“The long term solution lies with Government to abolish all scrap metal dealers from trading in copper, and also outlaw the trade of copper. In addition for the prevention of cable theft the syndicates need to be arrested which would then break the vicious cycle of cable theft,” said Van Vuuren.

Currently the municipality is replacing underground cable with overhead lines which has a huge cost implication. The South African Police Services are also assisting the Municipality’s Law Enforcement Unit. A specialised security unit will also be appointed through the Municipality’s Supply Chain Processes to assist in this regard.

“Thank you to Afrisam who provided assistance in placing boulders on the repaired line on Friday, May 6 to prevent it from being easily accessible,” said Van Vuuren.

READ ALSO:
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  AUTHOR
Samantha Traill
JOURNALIST/PHOTOGRAPHER

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