The City of Joburg loses up to R4 billion annually to cable theft and vandalism and there had been more than 2 000 incidents of thefts of critical power infrastructure in the last 12 months, according to Joburg’s City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava.
Mashava was speaking during an oversight visit in Naturena, where together with the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure Services Jack Sekwaila were overseeing the replacement of underground cables with an overhead line system which makes use of low value aluminium conductors.
“R2.9-million has been lost in Eikenhof alone this financial year, which cannot be tolerated. On a daily basis we wake up with one or two mini-subs being stolen and they cost R500 000 each. You are looking at a region where we are losing about R3 million a day.
“There is a labour cost that comes in when we add technical losses and non technical losses and this can easily be over R4 billion.
“We are not going to allow criminals to continue stealing electricity from residents of Naturena. That’s why, despite our limited resources, we insisted on expediting this project.”
Sekwaila said the power lines will be extended to cover different communities.
“We used aluminium which has less value in the scrapyard compared to copper which we feel will assist us. Two km of this line has been installed already around mid April, we should be able to come and commission this line to the residents,” he said.
He said a large part of the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s R2 billion loan, approved by the Council a few weeks ago, has been paid to the contractors who were not receiving their money from the City since September 2022.
He said the project will play a crucial part in ensuring the Metropolitan provides uninterrupted power cuts.
“We are excited about the progress made in this project which goes a long way in ensuring we fulfil our mandate to provide uninterrupted power supply to the residents. Recently we have been experiencing a lot of challenges in the provision of electricity to our residents.
“We will have a meeting with Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramakgopa to see how the national government can assist us in our efforts to provide residents of Johannesburg with uninterrupted supply of electricity.”