Share this article

Mayor addresses power outages in northern suburbs


City Power, the City of Johannesburg’s electricity utility, is considering the possibility of replacing copper cable with aerial conductor cable – which is made of aluminium – to bring power outages caused by rampant incidents of cable theft to an end.

The entity is considering this option because aerial conductor cable has limited resale value compared to copper cable, making it worthless to cable thieves.

This was revealed by City Power officials during a visit to Jukskei River by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau on Wednesday July 20, where copper cable had been stolen hours earlier, plunging several neighbouring areas into darkness. The areas affected by the power cuts as a result this latest incident of cable theft included Northwold, Bromhof, Strijdom Park and parts of Northriding.

Cable theft costs the City millions of rands every year. Only recently, it spent more than R7-million to replace 5km of stolen copper cable. When Mayor Tau arrived at Jukskei River, City Power technicians were hard at work trying to restoring the power. He expressed concern at outages caused by cable theft and appealed to community members to get involved in the fight against cable thieves.

“Money spent on replacing cables should be spent on mobilising communities to protect their own infrastructure. I’m getting a lot of calls from communities complaining about these outages. You can’t have three nights without power. We need a long-term solution to these challenges. There has to be a plan to deal with hot spots,” Cllr Tau said.

Officials said “vulnerable areas” such as open spaces and rivers would be targeted. The areas have been provided with response vehicle teams. City Power also conducts joint operations with law enforcement agencies to at illegal scrap yards in a bid to bring cable theft to a halt. The power utility said it had also engaged the business community to discuss strategies to deal with the scourge. In a significant move, the Criminal Amendment Matters Act – which imposes sentences for up to 30 years imprisonment for the illegal possession of copper cable – came into effect on 1 June this year.