WATCH | City Power tackles overgrown trees that cause power outages in Jhb

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  • Joburg City Power inspected servitudes on Friday that had overgrown vegetation in the city.
  • In April a single tree fell onto an electricity tower at a servitude which resulted in a three-day power cut in parts of Johannesburg.
  • City Power has a memorandum of understanding with City Parks, who is responsible for cutting down the trees, which costs about R60 million a year.

The threat of natural vegetation and building structures under power lines has become a serious issue for City Power.

This after a single bluegum tree fell onto an electricity tower in Amalgam, south of Johannesburg, leaving parts of Auckland and Melville without power for three days in April.

On Friday, Johannesburg City Power visited various locations, including Amalgam, where overgrown vegetation had been identified as one of the causes of power outages. 

“We have been having serious problems with electricity supply to certain areas because of the trips that happen. When we investigated, we realised that we had a problem under our servitude where vegetation was growing to really unacceptable levels,” said Isaac Mangena, City power spokesperson. 

ALSO READ | City Power reveals the cause of frequent power cuts in East Rand

In April, a tree fell onto a tower in Amalgam and took out the power supply within a 20km radius. Although the tree was not inside the city power servitude, it took out the line because of how tall it had grown. Mangena said they had an estimated R60 million a year memorandum of understanding with City Parks, who is responsible for cutting down the trees. 

City Power also visited electricity towers in Cleveland, where a logistics company moving massive shipping containers were operating. City Power electrician Mokete Mokgasinyane said it presented a problem as the cranes that moved the containers had the potential to touch the lines and trip them.

Mangena said:

The problem we are addressing of people building under the servitudes is actually illegal and are breaking the bylaws. It is something that we as a city are addressing. I am talking about areas like Alexandra, even Sandton and Bedfordview. We have the power to engage the law to force those people to remove the structures.

At the site, News24 observed massive trucks coming in and out to collect the containers; attempts to engage the owners of the property were unsuccessful as they were nowhere to be found.

Mokgasinyane explained that the city tried to inspect their servitude at least four times a week.

ALSO READ | City Power employee in court for allegedly asking for bribe to switch on lights

"We are here today to ensure that the problems we are experiencing under outlines, are taken care of and the trees under the power lines are removed. Nothing is supposed to be built or grow under these lines. Nothing over six metres tall," said Mokgasinyane.

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