Technicians responding to power outages need protection, and the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) is urging all stakeholders to join efforts in safeguarding these essential service providers.
The call for increased protection follows a recent incident where criminals ambushed an electrician, who they shot, and robbed while he was working at a substation in Boksburg on July 8. The electrician, accompanied by a female colleague, was attempting to locate a fault causing power outages in several areas.
During the restoration process, an armed robber confronted the electrician, resulting in a gunshot wound, theft of personal belongings, and abandonment. The colleague alerted management, and the police promptly responded to the scene. Paramedics provided medical assistance, and the injured electrician is now stable.
Due to safety concerns, the metro temporarily withdrew its technicians, causing a prolonged blackout. However, restoration work resumed the following day.
The metro acknowledges protecting technicians in high-risk areas, but it is impractical and costly to accompany them to every outage. The CoE believes that the public, police, law enforcement agencies, Community Policing Forums (CPFs), and neighbourhood watch groups are crucial in preventing attacks on municipal workers.
Also read: Contractor killings raise fears in Germiston
The city stresses that protecting technicians and the infrastructure is in the best interest of the communities relying on continuous electricity supply. The persistent attacks harm the workers and hinder the city’s efforts to ensure reliable electricity services.
The CoE condemns the shooting incident, highlighting the risks faced by technicians who sacrifice their comfort and safety to serve the community. The fear of such attacks has made some workers reluctant to attend night-time callouts, leading to extended power outages.
The city appeals to the community to protect these employees as they perform a critical task that ensures people’s lives are not endangered. Despite criminal activities’ challenges, the CoE remains committed to providing quality and sustainable services.
The metro urges anyone with information about the attack to contact the police. The incident is part of a concerning trend, as demonstrated by a previous attack in Germiston, where community members destroyed a contractor’s vehicle, resulting in fatalities.
These attacks coincide with the metro’s efforts to address widespread power outages and illegal connections across the city, including informal settlements. The technician’s family declined to comment at this time.
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