Jameson Park residents robbed of their right to electricity

Cable theft has become one of the most profitable crimes in the country with many participants who profit at great cost to the public. The direct effect is that residents are left in the dark for weeks or months at a time and this influences the efficiency of all dealings, from personal to business.

 

Electrical appliances are damaged, revenue losses are suffered and home security systems are compromised as a result. As if stealing overhanging cables from the street poles is not enough, thieves have also dug out the underground cables at Jameson Park substation recently, which resulted in a major power outage that lasted nearly a week.

 

According to Rudi Rudolf (chairperson of Jameson Park CPF) cable theft generally occurs at night or the early hours of the morning and although members of the CPF patrol the streets day and night, they are faced with challenges such as overgrown veld grass, which provides perfect camouflage for cable thieves.

 

Jameson Park has been dubbed the ugly stepchild of Lesedi and residents complain that service delivery is almost non-existent. In Kite Street, local resident Victoria Ngwenya (74) has been without electricity since May 6 and when she reported it to Lesedi Local Municipality (LLM), she was told (along with other residents) to pay R2800 upfront in order to have the cables repaired.

 

“Why should we as ratepayers be held accountable?” another resident Solomon Khoza asked.

 

“The poles are not situated inside our properties, but they have been erected on government land. It is therefore Lesedi’s responsibility,” he said.

 

LLM has not responded to HERAUT’s enquiry in this regard.
Many households and small businesses now have to rely on generators to keep them afloat, but it comes at a great cost and not all households can afford it.

 

“Public awareness is key and members of the community are urged to be active agents and report cases of crime in their area immediately,” Rudolf said.

 

He added that the Jameson Park CPF requested better police visibility at night as cable thieves have to be caught in the act of the crime in order to be brought to justice.
“We suspect that thieves are commissioned by scrap metal buyers to steal copper cables, but we have to know where the material ends up. Buyers have a responsibility to ensure that the material they are buying is not stolen property by insisting on the relevant documentation to see where the cable comes from,” Capt Dan Silabi from SAPS Nigel said in response.

 

 

Jameson Park CPF chairperson Rudi Rudolf at one of the trenches where cables thieves recently dug out the underground cables, resulting in a major power outage in Jameson Park and its surrounding areas.

 

Cable thieves are mostly active at night where they first create an electrical short to cut the power supply. Electric cables are then cut off clean from the poles.

 

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Heidelberg Nigel Heraut

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