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2011-07-06: Mayor TAU calls for "strong action against vandals and saboteurs"

JOHANNESBURG'S Executive Mayor, Clr Mpho Parks Tau has called on the police "to take swift and decisive action against individuals who are vandalising electricity infrastructure and engaging in mob violence."

Mayor Tau says he met with senior officials of Eskom today to discuss the situation in Chiawelo, Soweto, where vandals sabotaged electricity substations leaving large numbers of families without power during the coldest week of the winter.

"We have agreed with Eskom that they will work through the night to fix damaged equipment and restore power where possible. Unfortunately, some of the damage, according to Eskom, is extensive and it may take some time to be repaired," he says.

Mayor Tau says he is extremely concerned about the violence and vandalism that occurred in parts of Chiawelo today. The home of a councilor was set alight, a car was torched and another house belonging to the former councilor was damaged. Councilors are elected public representatives and members of the community should not allow individuals who take part in activities aimed at hindering democracy to do as the like.

"Destruction of public property is an act of sabotage," he says. "Some of these vandals were arrested before on charges of vandalism and illegal connection but unfortunately they were released without a clear explanation."

Mayor Tau says he intends to meet with senior officials of the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority to discuss his concerns at the highest level. "We have to take these acts of vandalism more seriously," he says. "They are destroying public property and robbing people of their quality of life."

"This is a very small minority of agitators who are responsible for the damage.  The figures show payment levels for electricity of more than 90% among residents in Chiawelo," he says.

He has requested Eskom to reconnect homes in the area as a matter of urgency and also to look at other suburbs that have experienced outages in recent days.
The City of Johannesburg and Eskom apologises to residents who have been inconvenienced by the outages. Technical teams from Eskom accompanied by the SAPS and JMPD will be going out to Chiawelo to try to normalize the power supply in the area.

We also call on the community to support the SAPS and the JMPD by reporting acts of vandalism, illegal connections and cable theft.

"Working together we can stop these saboteurs in their tracks and ensure that residents receive the quality of services they deserve," says Mayor Tau.


Issued by:
Nthatisi Modingoane
Deputy Director: Communications
Tel: (011) 407 7354
Fax: 403 3494
Cell: 082 467 9228