Thieves ‘trip’ residents’ patience

Residents in Reyno Ridge, Ben Fleur and surrounding areas had their ‘volt’ of bad luck last weekend.

On Friday, July 28 the bulk electrical cable feeding from Driehoek Substation was stolen.
It took municipal workers nearly a whole day to replace the cables.

The electricity was restored on Saturday afternoon, but joy was short-lived. A few hours later thieves attempted to steal the newly installed sections of cable. This again resulted in electricity failure.

Quick response from a municipal worker, the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and police cut their spree short and they left empty-handed. Unfortunately they did manage to access and damage the cable at two locations, requiring inserts to be jointed into the cables again on the Sunday.

DA councillor Landi Schneider-Breetzke explained that thieves dig the area open where the cable is, then make a fire underneath the cable. This causes the electricity to trip at the substation. They then within minutes cut the length they want and disappear.

“They were not so lucky on Saturday as a municipal worker immediately rushed to the area as soon as the electricity tripped on Saturday evening,” she said.

“The cable total length is 7km and the thieves managed to steal about 60 meters. The theft of the cable had dire financial consequences for particularly business people and a huge inconvenience for residents,” Mr Kingdom Mabuza, municipal spokesperson confirmed.

“The community has had enough. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. So I put out a call for help and ideas from the community. Their response was generous and creative, making me proud to be a part of this initiative. My team engaged with local mines that also suffer from the theft of long underground cables and decided to implement some of their tried and tested strategies to help safeguard the cables and break the vicious circle,” Cllr Schneider-Breetzke said.


Conveyor belting is used to cover the cables deep in the trench before closing. This additional barrier makes it much more difficult for thieves to gain access to the cables. Slag has also been donated and transport is being arranged to dump large loads on top of the trenches, making it even more difficult for thieves.

After having obtained approval from the relevant municipal department, conveyor belting, which was donated, was used to cover the cables deep in the trench before closing. This additional barrier makes it much more difficult for thieves to gain access to the cables. Slag has also been donated and transport is being arranged to dump large loads on top of the trenches, making it even more difficult for thieves. This will start this week.

Cllr Schneider-Breetzke also secured more visibility in the area where the cable gets stolen each time.

“Over and above making it more difficult for thieves to access the cables this remote area will now be heavily patrolled. CPF sub sectors have joined forces with security companies and added the area to their patrol routes. The security companies are devising ideas for cameras and motion activation alarms that could trigger alarms in their control rooms,” she said.

“I would like to thank the people that assisted me last weekend. From the bottle of water you sent to me and the team replacing the cables to the conveyor belt that was delivered and everything in between. I really appreciate you all,” Cllr Schneider-Breetzke said.

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  AUTHOR
Zita Goldswain
Assistant Editor

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