City Power has allocated R9.5 million to combat cable theft in Naturena, Johannesburg. According to Jacaranda FM, the initiative comes in response to the rampant theft of cables, resulting in annual losses estimated at R4.5 billion, including energy theft, ageing infrastructure and cable theft. In the past year alone, City Power has addressed over 2,000 complaints regarding cable theft. In addition, the robbery of mini substations costs the utility an estimated R3 million daily.
City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava recently visited the site near the Eikenhof pump station, where repeated cable theft incidents have occurred. Two weeks ago, City Power engaged with community members, who pledged to replace the copper underground network that the thieves had targeted. In Naturena alone, City Power has lost R2.1 million due to cable theft in the current financial year.
“Criminals found it easy to come and dig up our cable, and as such, we had to change our approach. We found ourselves with multiple incidents of theft and that also meant the community would be without electricity for days, and we as City Power will also lose sales,” says Mashava.
Despite swapping out copper cables for lesser-value aluminium conductors, Mashava acknowledges that it is not a fool-proof solution, as sometimes criminals are unaware of what they may find. Aluminium also has a new market, namely pot-making.
The project, launched on March 13, 2023, is set to be completed this week and will go live in April. However, city Power CEO and Johannesburg infrastructure and environment MMC, Jack Sekwaila, has warned scrap yard owners not to accept stolen cables and metal scraps.
He added, “We will take your license and close the shop permanently. There are regulations that they know very well themselves. We will be visiting this coming week”.
He plans to meet with Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramakgopa to explore how the national government can support the City’s efforts to provide uninterrupted electricity to residents.
Picture: Twitter / JacaNews