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Contractor allegedly switches on power – endangering technicians in Joburg – Attempted murder?



Contractor switched on the power when technicians worked

City of Joburg’s power utility, City Power, has expressed relief over the arrest of one of its contractors on multiple charges, including sabotage and tampering with essential electricity infrastructure. City Power’s CEO, Tshifularo Mashava, revealed that the contractor switched on the power when technicians worked in Roodepoort, as per IOL. The officials had previously switched it off to ensure a safe working environment for the technicians.

“The suspect was found inside City Power switching substation in the Roodepoort area with working equipment. It is not clear how he gained entry, but his actions nearly killed some of City Power’s operators and technicians who were working on the network downstream from the same switching station,” explained Mashava.

Mashava recounted how the City Power operators while conducting repairs in the Roodepoort area, had isolated the switching substation as a safety precaution. However, before commencing work, they tested the cables and other infrastructure again. They made a shocking discovery – the cables were still live. Perplexed, they returned to the transmission station to investigate and found the suspect inside the chamber. The community had already apprehended him, suspecting him of vandalism and theft.

According to Mashava, the cornered contractor eventually confessed to switching on the power without any legitimate reason or job card. In response, City Power’s general manager for security services, Sergeant Thela, initiated a plan to have the suspect arrested. Within 24 hours, with the assistance of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s tactical team, the suspect was apprehended and taken into custody.

Also read: Mixed Reactions to City Power’s Load-Limiting and Exemption Plans


The contractor is now in the custody of Roodepoort SAPS and will appear in court, facing charges related to tampering with essential infrastructure, vandalism, and acts of sabotage. City Power emphasised that the contractor may also face an attempted murder charge for endangering the technicians’ lives.

Johannesburg has recently seen increased attacks on its infrastructure, particularly in Roodepoort, where theft and vandalism have become more problematic. City Power has worked with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other security agencies to prevent these crimes. Mashava acknowledged that some recent arrests had involved contractors and even City Power staff, indicating a possible involvement of insiders. The power utility remains committed to intensifying surveillance efforts and anticipates further arrests soon.

Over the past month, Roodepoort has experienced over 100 incidents of vandalism, averaging at least three daily incidents. Criminals have targeted mini substations, resulting in the theft of cables and fuses. These attacks have directly contributed to widespread power outages in various areas around Roodepoort. The Roodepoort Service Delivery Centre has been working diligently to replace damaged mini substations in affected areas.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced measures to address the country’s energy challenges, reduce load shedding, and increase the grid’s megawatt capacity by year-end. The government’s priority is to achieve energy security, and the president reassured the public that a total blackout is not coming, despite the strain on the grid. With over 100 projects beginning, the government plans to procure approximately 10,000MW of new generation capacity.

Also read:


Cable Theft Threatens South Africa’s Infrastructure and Progress

Picture: Twitter / CityPowerJhb

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