20 October 2018

South Africa: Johannesburg City Power 'Threatened By Mobs', Electricity Poles Cut Down

City Power has raised alarm bells about the sabotage and vandalism of state infrastructure in Lenasia South, Johannesburg.

Dangerous illegal electricity connections in Unaville informal settlement recently resulted in a power failure at Grasmere Toll Plaza and in surrounding residential areas.

"There are trips and failures and when we send people to cut the illegal connection, they're reconnected a few minutes later," City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena told News24.

"It is becoming dangerous for City Power employees because they are being threatened by mobs."

He added that Unaville residents had purposefully cut the power in the area to ensure that paying customers in the area are also without electricity.

More recently, criminals cut down electrical poles in the area to steal the copper components within the transformers.

"These are criminal elements and people are stealing transformers. We have had to replace seven transformers over the past eight months," Mangena said.

In an effort to curtail the vandalism, City Power plans on cutting the main power line in the area and using an alternative line to power the toll gates.

"We are going to talk to the people about dangers of illegal connections - it is dangerous to children especially. We are trying to raise awareness," Mangena said.

"We have also increased plain-clothes security in that area to ensure that there is no illegal activity on the infrastructure. We have involved the police to help us with the investigations."

Plans to install electricity in Unaville are still under review.

"We have recommendations to either move the squatter camp or cut the main in that area. That is a choice that management still needs to make," Mangena said.

Source: News24

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