No stop to power theft

2015-05-21 06:00
PHOTO: jonathan burtonCables carrying stolen electricity across Copesville Drive next to the SAPS building less than 100 metres away.

PHOTO: jonathan burtonCables carrying stolen electricity across Copesville Drive next to the SAPS building less than 100 metres away.

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COPESVILLE residents have said they are tired of reporting cable theft when illegal live wires lie in full view of the Copesville police station­.

Outraged and frustrated, some residents said they experienced cable theft four times in as little as two months, but their complaints seem to fall on deaf ears.

A resident, who asked not be named, said when cables were stolen they were usually fixed either the same day or the next morning. The resident was frustrated that nothing was being done to prevent the theft.

“They come to fix the cables, but there is no security and the cables are not covered after they are replaced so they are stolen as soon as they have been fixed.

“The municipality comes in with its gear and repairs the stolen or damaged­ cables and then leave without covering it up. This has been going on for years, but recently it has got worse,” he said.

Another resident, Ali Sheik, said not only was the issue an inconvenience, it also put the neighbourhood at risk of robberies.

“They are always stealing cables and when they have been stolen, everything­ goes off. Our street lights are off, our alarms are off, everything goes haywire and it is dangerous,” he said.

Across from the Copesville police station, illegal live wires lie open in full view of the police.

Pietermaritzburg SAPS spokesperson Mthoko Ngobese said he was aware of the illegal live wires on the road across from the station and they are monitoring the issue.

“We are aware of the cables that are in view of the police station and we have activated the municipality to fix the issue,” he said.

He said the matter was reported to the municipality two weeks ago who then told the police the problem was being worked on.

Msunduzi spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said a task team has been set up to deal with the matter.

She said the repaired cables were not always covered after they had been replaced or fixed as it was not always a permanent repair that had been done.

“When faults occur after hours, and depending on the volume of faults for that evening, it is not always possible to do a permanent repair.

“When a permanent repair is done, it means excavating a larger area which takes time while at the same time other areas are awaiting attention.

“It is fairly common to do a temporary repair, and the next day or as soon as it is practicable, carry out permanent repairs.”

She said securing the repaired cables was not possible.

“Placing a security [guard] at every cable that is exposed and damaged as a result of vandalism will not work because we will be chasing behind the culprits who are opening cable trenches­ to steal electricity.”

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