Plans to combat cable theft in East

Councilor Reyaan Uys at The Wilds gate 3, where cable theft occurs. Photo: Mari Rheeder.

Cable theft is an increasing problem not only in the east but the entire Pretoria, affecting business and residents alike.

The gravity of the problem came to light when Garsfontein, Pretorius Park, Woodhill and surrounding areas experienced yet another power outage about a week ago.

Ward councillor Reyaan Uys said the outage could be attributed to the theft of cables running between Mooikloof and Woodhill substations.

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Uys said that his ward was affected by cable theft up to twice a month, and the hotspots was at gate 3 of The Wilds estate in Garsfontein.

This part of the estate was supposed to be developed for residential use but was abandoned.

Uys said the developers left markers above ground the remind themselves where the the power cables were which was proving useful for thieves now.

“All the indicators have been removed, either by the Tshwane metro police (TMPD) or by thieves that vandalised everything.”

Uys said that a 132 kilovolt cable ran between the Mooikloof and Woodhill substations.

“They steal cables from this line bit by bit. When we fix one part, they return to steal another.”

When these cables are stolen, it causes power outages in large parts of the east.

“The TMPD has applied for extra security to monitor these areas in the new financial year.”

Spokesperson for the metro, Lindela Mashigo said the city set up a dedicated metro police unit that achieved tremendous success in preventing cable theft and arrested thieves that were involved in this criminal activity.

“This unit proactively continues to conduct policing in all areas and we also rely on the public to report this deviant act.”

Uys said the metro police were working on a strategy to prevent cable theft.

“They have realised that patrolling alone does not really help,” he said.

“They have been looking into a number of new technologies including marking cables invisibly so they can be identified, beams, anti-theft devices, alarm systems and the like.

“This is being done by director Trish Armstrong, whose team has also had success in curbing cable theft and arresting the perpetrators.”

MMC for utility services, Darryl Moss said: “Many people consider cable theft as a form of economic sabotage.”

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“It is an increasing scourge, in which criminals are prepared to disrupt the activities of the city and its residents and businesses.”

“Firsly, replacing stolen cable was expensive – buying new cable and the manpower and vehicles used during replacement.

“Secondly the resultant power outage cause an inconvenience to residents and businesses.

“On top of that there is cost to residents and businesses associated to food being spoilt and going to waste, businesses unable to transact, factories shutting down, traffic lights malfunctioning and criminals using the cover of the darkness to attack residents and businesses.”

Moss said he believed much of the theft was carried out by people locals, as it was clear that the criminals had extensive knowledge of the city’s electrical installations and vulnerabilities.

Uys said that he was discussing a preventative plan with stakeholders in Woodhill.

He said that they were also urging residents to donate bakkies to assist with extra patrolling.

Councilor Reyaan Uys at The Wilds gate 3, where cable theft occurs. Photo: Mari Rheeder.

Councillor Reyaan Uys says The Wilds’ gate 3 is a cable thief heaven with so many places to hide. Photo: Mari Rheeder.

Waltloo substation has also fallen victim to cable theft. Photo: Supplied.

One of the streetlights where cable theft occurred. Photo: Mari Rheeder.

Reyaan Uys with a vandalised streetlight. Photo: Mari Rheeder.

Councillor Reyaan Uys says The Wilds’ gate 3 is a cable thief heaven with so many places to hide. Photo: Mari Rheeder.

Waltloo sub station has been targeted by cable thevies multiple times. Photo: Supplied.

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