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Upset resident says lack of protection of nodes causes cable theft

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A concerned citizen from Johannesburg south wants answers and action to safeguard the vulnerable area around the electricity substation in Eikenhof.

Yesterday, David Whyte from Kibler Park, met members of City Power, representatives from the mayor’s office and local councillors to express his dissatisfaction with vulnerable substations he believed were responsible for the power problems in his area.

In June, Whyte said the situation regarding power outages due to cable theft was intolerable. He said power outages were usually due to stolen cables or an overload at the Eikenhof substation. Whyte said his complaints about the security issue to the office of the mayor of Joburg and City Power had fallen on deaf ears.

The Citizen can report that the area looks neglected, with dumped building rubble and litter lying in the veld. Not far away is the informal settlement of a clan that allegedly filed a land claim recently. Close by, a car and bright coloured fabric peeked out from under a tree where a traditional healer lives.

ALSO READ: Two City Power security officers arrested for cable theft

“When the cables are stolen here, we are left without power for up to 20 hours,” Whyte said. “Power trips last several hours after failed attempts to turn on electricity after load shedding, because there is an insufficient electricity capacity, due to rapid property development.”

For officials to claim there was no problem was false, Whyte said.

“There is a problem. This area needs to be secured. I am not saying chuck out the tribal chief. I don’t know who this area belongs to, but it needs to be secured,” he said.

Action SA councillor Sarah Wissler said the issue was maintenance of cables in the area. “The golf course link to the substation was also a constant problem,” she added.

She said residents were without power for days because maintenance workers could not access cables set in the concrete. Wissler said parts arriving late on site were also to blame for delays.

Security risk general manager at City Power Sergeant A Thela said the area was regularly patrolled.

“Last week, we arrested three suspects digging here. As we speak, they are behind bars,” he said. Thela said before last week’s incident, there had been four months without cable theft in the area.

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