City ‘will replace’ stolen cables

2015-10-06 06:00
Ongoing cable theft in Ocean View has seen the council forking out for repairs and replacement.

Johan Kikillus

Ongoing cable theft in Ocean View has seen the council forking out for repairs and replacement. PHOTO: Johan Kikillus

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Despite concerns the council may no longer replace electricity cables due to ongoing theft, Ocean View residents have been reassured that this is a last resort.

Concerns were raised in a recent subcouncil 19 meeting due to the rate at which municipal electricity cables are being stolen in Ocean View, it may soon be too costly to replace them.

However, Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, says the City does not stop replacing cables when it stops being financially viable.

“The affected community may experience a delayed response to allow the City to engage with the community regarding the theft, but the City does not stop replacing cables unless intensive community engagement does not result in any reduction in theft,” he says.

The theft of cables adds significantly to the cost of electricity provision, which may necessitate that the tariff which all electricity customers throughout the City pay be raised, Sonnenberg explains.

“The City must take this into account when dealing with theft of a certain scale.”

If the cost for replacement of stolen and vandalised infrastructure becomes a significant contributor to the tariff charged, the City will engage with the national energy regulator and other roleplayers to discuss whether continued replacement of stolen and vandalised infrastructure is feasible, Sonnenberg says.

While no specific costs could be established for the theft in Ocean View, the City of Cape Town spent more than R8.2m on replacing vandalised equipment in the area that includes Muizenberg, Mitchell’s Plain, Gugulethu and Wynberg (“Cable theft ‘unending’”, People’s Post, 11 August).

“While theft of streetlight and service connection cables in Ocean View is ongoing, this area does not experience the level of theft prevalent in a number of other communities in the city. While we condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms and encourage the community to increase their efforts to protect their infrastructure, the comment made at the meeting may have overstated the extent to which we are actually considering this,” Sonnenberg says.V

Residents are encouraged to report cable theft to the metals theft unit commonly known as the Copperheads, on 0800 222 771.

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