Infrastructure theft well planned, says DA | Witness

2022-10-01 04:18:51 By : Mr. Allen Bao

There are renewed allegations of organised theft and sabotage at municipal infrastructure, especially at the substations.

Ward 26 councillor Ross Strachan said there were concerns of sabotage and that someone could allegedly be orchestrating the sabotage of the municipal infrastructure. This could be a businessperson or a scrap dealer, he added.

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Strachan said on Wednesday that he met with Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla, deputy mayor and chairperson for infrastructure Mxolisi Mkhize, council speaker Eunice Majola and officials to discuss the issue.

Strachan said they are all on the same page in terms of wanting to increase security for municipal infrastructure. This was after a large part of Prestbury was without electricity from Tuesday afternoon after an 11KV MV cable from Pine Primary Substation to Zwartkop bridge tripped. There was also vandalism in a secondary substation where a roof was broken through.

There were also pictures and videos circulating on social media of a man with burn wounds who is believed to have suffered an electric shock on Tuesday while allegedly trying to steal parts from a substation in Prestbury during load shedding.

You’d question how someone like a vagrant would know the value of what’s in the substation and the schedule of the load shedding. The reason they go to the substations is to take copper and whatever they can use to make money and someone might be giving them ideas of what to take.

He added they needed to deal with this act of theft and sabotage on a criminal basis by getting the SAPS involved. The police have been involved previously after continual threats to the water and electricity infrastructure, he said.

Strachan said a joint effort was needed to try and safeguard the municipal infrastructure, especially during load shedding.

This would need the municipal officials, the private sector and all councillors across the political spectrum to safeguard it and I know other security [companies] will be willing if we engage with them to help monitor our substations during load shedding.

Frustrated residents said they had a tough two days without electricity in the cold weather.

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A resident, who asked not to be named, said she wished the municipality would provide more protection for substations from vagrants who used the opportunity during load shedding to steal copper.

It was a hectically cold day without electricity. We couldn’t do anything but we were grateful that there was some sort of communication from our councillor.

Spokesperson for Msunduzi Municipality, Ntobeko Mkhize, said the technicians attended to the fault on site, tested the cable, thereafter joined the cables and power was partly restored.

The copper forms an integral part of most of the electricity infrastructure and theft, including vandalism, has a negative effect on the municipality and residents. The municipality incurs enormous costs to repair and replace infrastructure. Security measures are being beefed-up at electricity supply infrastructure. The municipality is urging residents to report any suspicious activity and be on the lookout for suspicious people working on the electricity network.

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