Public urged to report vandalism of electricity infrastructure

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Cooling towers at a coal-based power station owned by state power utility Eskom in Duhva, South Africa, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Eskom has called on the public to report the theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure which has risen to disastrous proportions, threatening essential services and the lives of innocent people across the Gauteng province.

Eskom has reported concerning levels of damage to its network such as transformers and substations, leading to prolonged outages to customers, including essential services.

On Wednesday, the electricity supply to Rand Water in the City of Ekurhuleni was affected due to the vandalism of insulators at the Mapleton line, putting essential water supply at risk for the residents of Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Lesedi, Govan Mbeki and Thembisile Hani Local Municipalities.

“The vandalism and theft have extended to include pylons whose tower members are often stolen by unscrupulous criminal elements, resulting in the steel structures collapsing and posing extreme danger to members of the public.

“The vandalism and theft of infrastructure also come at a great financial loss to the power utility, which is forced to replace the same at significant and unsustainable costs, further threatening its liquidity and mandate to provide electricity,” Eskom said on Thursday.

A partnership with the public, among others, can serve a critical role in fighting the scourge of such criminal practices where community members become the eyes and ears of the electricity supplier.

Three men appeared before the Roodepoort Magistrate Court in January 2023 after being arrested on a tip-off by community members for being in possession of pylon tower members valued at R25 000.

This was a result of working together with the community members and other stakeholders.

The power utility appeals to the public to partner with it in reducing electricity-related criminal activities by reporting illegal connections, theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure to the Eskom crime line number: 0800 112 722. –SAnews.

a - South African power utility Eskom secured a legal victory over Letsemeng Local Municipality in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last week.

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