Vandals damaging electricity infrastructure in Schaapkraal are costing the City of Cape Town R800,000 on average per month, mayoral committee member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg said on Thursday.
“We have it on good authority that many of the saboteurs are from the Egoli informal settlement in the area, having declared that as long as they do not have electricity supply, they will continue to disrupt supply to surrounding areas,” he said in a statement.
“This form of protest is extremely costly and has a destructive effect on surrounding settlements. While I empathise with the Egoli community, we have made it very clear to them that we are unable to provide electricity on privately owned land.”
Sonnenberg said the area had a reputation for being a metal theft hotspot, adding that members of the City’s Metals Theft Unit and security personnel provided by the electricity services department patrolled the area regularly.
The local farming community has also been eager to report those suspected of the vandalism.
Despite this, hundreds of thousands of rands are spent on securing, repairing and replacing stolen and vandalised infrastructure every month.
“Our technicians are called out to the area on a near-daily basis, spending up to six hours at a time carrying out repairs.
“Vandals have damaged pole-mounted transformers, low-voltage cables and connection cables to legal customers.
“Very often, as soon as repairs are completed, vandals simply throw chains over the overhead conductors and transformers, tripping the electricity supply once more,” he said.
Armed security guards have been employed to protect the infrastructure and to escort staff into the area for repairs.