Theft of copper cables and transformers, as well as illegal electricity connections are a crime, and endanger residents, the City has warned.
CABLE theft and illegal electricity connections pose a serious threat to the wellbeing of Joburg residents and lead to huge operating losses for the city.
MMC Ros GreeffCracking down on cable thieves: MMC Ros GreeffRoslynn Greeff, the member of the mayoral committee for infrastructure and the environment, has vowed to crack down on cable thieves and people responsible for illegal electricity connections.
“Cable theft and illegal connections are a major cause of power outages in the city, resulting in severe disruptions in the lives of residents and loss of income to many small and emerging businesses,” she said.
Her words come after a spate of cable theft in Joburg that has left many residents in the dark.
“We have to combat the perception that those responsible for illegal connections are heroes in society – modern Robin Hoods who take from the rich and give to the poor.”
Greeff added that people needed to recognise that cable theft was a crime and those stealing copper cables and disrupting power networks were criminals who should be dealt with by the law.
“The fact is that they are stealing from law-abiding ratepayers who are prepared to pay for the services they receive,” said Greeff. “Their reckless actions put the lives and livelihoods of thousands of ordinary Joburgers in danger.”
An illegal electricity connectionAn illegal electricity connectionCity Power has arrested 334 suspects for various crimes, ranging from cable theft to theft of transformers, with a number of court cases still on the go.
Soaring world copper prices have led to an increase in cable theft; between 2004 and 2009, the price of copper rose by 600 percent. Thieves often target pipes and electrical cables for copper. They also vandalise electricity substations stations for transformers and metal coils.
The loot is often sold to scrap metal dealers at half of its actual value or to syndicates which ship it to other countries, such as India and China. There is always at least one attempt at cable theft each day in Johannesburg.
Cable theft is estimated to cost South Africa’s economy about R5-billion a year. It was declared a high priority crime at a recent copper cable theft conference held in Joburg.
Illegal connections and theft of electricity or electrical infrastructure can be reported to City’s Power’s risk management control centre on 011 490 7553 or Primedia’s Crime Line on 32211.
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