WATCH | City of Joburg vows to raid all scrapyards trading its stolen infrastructure

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  • The City of Johannesburg has vowed to target all scrapyards dealing with its stolen cables and infrastructure.
  • The entity is losing billions of rands from theft and vandalism of its infrastructure.
  • It's also not ruled out that its own employees and contractors could be in cahoots with criminals. 

The City of Johannesburg and its entity, City Power, have threatened to raid all scrapyards dealing with their stolen copper cables and infrastructure.

Member of Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Jack Sekwaila vowed they would recover their stolen property, but didn't reveal when the scrapyards would be raided.

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Sekwaila was worried about the continuous loss of funds by City Power due to the rampant theft of cables, mini-substations and other infrastructure.

City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava revealed on Wednesday that the entity was losing up to three mini substations daily to thieves.

Mashava said a mini-substation costs City Power about R500 000, or about R3 million in costs daily. 

Tshifularo Mashava addressing media from table wit
City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava addresses the media in Naturena, revealing the City was losing billions due to theft and vandalism.

The CEO added that the City was losing R4 billion annually due to the combination of theft of mini substations, technical and non-technical losses, theft and vandalism.

In the past 12 months alone, City Power received more than 2 000 complaints of cable theft.

"The majority of our employees are honest and hard working. They are not involved in any form of theft. We must consider that there could be, or they could be engaged in such [theft]. We haven't had an instance where an employee is dismissed for theft or vandalism."

READ | Govt proposes six-month scrap metal ban to combat cable theft

"We have arrested contractors [for such]. Contractors are our extension. The key issue is we want to ensure our internal culture becomes the same as our contractors. We are implementing vetting measures. We have noticed loopholes where some contractors bring resources that haven't gone through our vetting processes."

Mashava said they would hold contractors liable to avoid misconduct.

Mashava said:

We can't fold our arms. I am accountable for safeguarding our infrastructure. If we don't do that, public funds will be wasted. We are now attracting relevant skills to change the thinking and bring innovation in dealing with these problems.

"The value chain of scrapyards is problematic to us. I have discussed with our colleagues how to focus on those places. This status quo can't be allowed to continue. We are also engaging the social development department about placing homeless people who allegedly cut [into] our systems and sell them to scrapyards.

"We can't let this go. We won't put out more details of our plans. When we deal with criminal networks, we must limit what we say so that they are not ready when we come. All of them, regardless, must be visited. I have closed one in Windsor. This problem is across the City."

Sakwaila added that they have plans that they would soon implement.

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