South Africa

Cable theft ‘big deal’: Gauteng municipality accused of failing to protect infrastructure

Emfulen workers with a new copper cable instead of the stolen one.

PHOTO: Ntwaagae Seleka / News24

  • The municipality of Emfulen is being attacked by people targeting substations.
  • The municipality is accused of failing to protect its property.
  • He loses millions of rand due to theft and vandalism.

Troubles are rampant in the troubled town of Emfulen as people target electrical substations.

Two substations were hit at Vanderbijlpark on Wednesday night. The substations are a stone’s throw apart and were targeted during load reduction.

A resident who refused to identify himself said a group of men had been seen entering and leaving the substation.

“Our neighbors said they saw a group of men entering and leaving the scene. They later returned by pushing a shopping cart. After we left the site for the second time, we heard a loud click. They stole a big cable.

“We hurried and quickly fought the fire. We managed to put out the fire before it spread,” he said.

DA Councilor Peter Verbeek has accused the municipality of failing to protect its infrastructure.

According to Verbeek, they are worried that funds for infrastructure protection could be diverted.

He said the substations were targeted for lack of security.

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Verbeek said:

We are aware of the trend being pursued by bands operating under a workload reduction schedule. This has happened in the last two to three years. The municipality is losing millions of rand due to cable theft.

“Cable theft has become a big business. We are in a continuous cycle of replacing lost cables. Three weeks ago, three people went to a substation who said they were municipal workers. They cut off a live mains cable so the substation is on fire. Residents of this area have spent a week without electricity, ”he added.

According to Verbeek, the loss of power affects citizens and drives away businesses.

“Businesses can’t trade without electricity. Some are closing. They said the municipality will increase the statute. We can redirect a lot of money to protect our infrastructure.

“The municipality doesn’t protect its infrastructure at all. We should protect it (the infrastructure), but they don’t. we got it.

“Emfuleni does little to protect infrastructure. Residents and businesses are trying to protect our substations,” Verbeek said.

Financial losses

Makhosonke Sangweni, Emfulen’s chief communications officer, said a lot of money was spent on renovating and replacing old transformers.

“We call on all communities to play their part in the maintenance of public infrastructure. Ensuring the safety of substations is a priority in accordance with a risk assessment conducted jointly with our electricity department.

Sangweni said:

Cost considerations also play a role. There has never been an incident at some substations, but once the risks are identified, a security installation should be considered.

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News24 reports that a man was caught on top of a 20 MVA transformer at a substation in Vereeniging.

The injured and naked chest man claimed municipal workers threw him at the transformer. However, his shoes lay nearby under another transformer.

The municipality disputed his allegations and accused the man of trying to steal the power cords, causing him an electric shock.

He was later taken to hospital.

The municipality is investigating the case.

I’m in trouble

Meanwhile, a cable ruptured at Eskom’s Tutukai power plant this week as it completed preparations for the re-commissioning of Unit 5.

Damage to the cable delayed the unit’s restart by three days because it took some time for the fault to be detected.

The cable has been repaired and the appliance has been put back into operation.

The power company added that a few hours later an air pressure drop was detected and the same turbine system in Unit 5 that controls the air to operate was de-energized.

The control air pipe supplying the turbine systems was cut with a power tool and then removed.

The pipe was also repaired.

Sabotage

“Eskom believes these were deliberate acts of sabotage on the part of those who had access to the site, which only employees can access and are fairly familiar with the security features of the area. Eskom has prosecuted. A team of forensic experts is assisting the investigation.

“This is the fifth sabotage incident since March 2021. All this was reported to the police. Eskom has taken measures to improve safety at all its power plants and at the Tutuka power plant, where additional security personnel and intelligent technology have been introduced,” Eskom said.


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Cable theft ‘big deal’: Gauteng municipality accused of failing to protect infrastructure

Source link Cable theft ‘big deal’: Gauteng municipality accused of failing to protect infrastructure

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