South Africa: Cable Thieves Target Mangaung Townships During Loadshedding

Power utility has spent more than R50-million to repair and replace stolen and vandalised infrastructure

Cable and copper theft has cost the power utility for Mangaung Metro more than R50-million during the 2022/2023 financial year.

Electricity was restored to Hamilton, parts of Batho Location and surrounding areas on Tuesday night following a power outage that started on Sunday after criminals stole cables.

According to Centlec, the power utility in Mangaung Metro, increasing cable theft is causing frequent disruptions to services across the metro. Centlec spokesperson Lele Mamatu said they have spent more than R50-million to repair and replace stolen and vandalised infrastructure. Incidents include copper and cable theft, vandalised electrical boxes and cutting of street lights cables.

“These incidents mostly happen during loadshedding. All towns are targeted. The money we have spent could have been used for other services but it has been swallowed by cable theft,” Mamatu said.

He said the most recent outage was caused by cable theft.

Mamatu said a few arrests have been made but more must be done to deter criminals.

About two weeks ago, two men sustained severe burn wounds after attempting to steal cables at the Bloemfontein train station. GroundUp confirmed on Wednesday that they are still receiving treatment at Pelonomi Hospital.

According to witnesses and informal traders at the station, the two men had been trying to cut the cables during loadshedding, but the power returned while they were still busy and they were “hit like lightning”.


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