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The Member of the Mayoral Committee on Environment and Infrastructure Services in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Moerane, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of electricity cable theft incidents across the City.
Since the start of the current financial year, cables worth over R14 million were stolen, plunging many suburbs into darkness for many days, some for weeks. This excludes the cost to the actual repairs work to the infrastructure, and material.
Since January 2021, City Power has had 144 incidents of cable theft to the value of R2.2 million. In December 2020, there were 206 incidents of cable theft. Most of these incidents happened during the recent loadshedding stage 2 that was implemented across the country, although cable theft happens when the lights are on.
On Wednesday alone, 11 cable theft incidents were reported, with six reported Thursday.
Cllr Moerane has called on law enforcement agencies, the SAPS, JMPD, neighbourhood watches, and CPF to join hands with City Power to assist to curb the scourge. Forty-one suspects were arrested since July 2020 to date, with two arrested this January and 11 in December.
Cable theft not only costs the City millions in lost revenue, it also inconveniences customers and businesses, especially small business, during a time when the country is experiencing Covid-19 restrictions.
As part of its mitigating strategy, City Power has been replacing the copper cables with aluminum bundle cables, which have no value to cable thieves.