The Star Late Edition
Cable theft leaves gogos in the dark
RESIDENTS at the Reuven Old Age Complex in West Turffontein, Joburg, say they are living in fear and misery as they go for three to four days at a time without power.
Pensioner Caroline Bruyns, 84, who lives at the residence but had to move in with her daughter because of the lack of electricity, said most of the residents at the old age complex ranged from 80 to 90 years old and were helpless when criminals broke in.
Bruyns said that with no electricity, they had to use the little pension money they had to buy fast food, but they were scared because they did not know who was lurking in the dark.
“We are having a break-in every week and they are taking all the fuses and cutting cables to the sub-station at Reuven,” she said.
Bruyns said they had been going to City Power, which kept reaffirming that they would send someone to deal with the matter, but nothing further was ever done.
“They then turn around and say that we must have the sub-station locked, but it exploded about two years ago; it's just by luck that my son was there and he managed to sort that out.”
She said the pensioners went for days without eating, and the cold weather also affected them badly when they did not have electricity.
“They keep hitting Reuven all the time, they keep hitting different blocks. We had a meeting last week trying to find out how it's happening and how they get in because we've got security there,” she said.
Bruyns thinks that they are just letting anybody in and out, and said they lived in constant fear.
“I was there for a month and they took all four tyres off my car and put my car on bricks,” she said.
She added that three weeks ago, City Power told the residents that the fuses that were stolen were too old and that they did not have them any more, so they had to bypass the fuses.
“Near block 21, they have done the same and they have the cheek to say we must sort it out. Why must we sort out their problem? It's their problem, they must come and fix it,” said Bruyns.
City Power spokesperson Issac Mangena said the Reuven Service Delivery Centre was unfortunately not aware of this issue, and it was the first time this matter had been escalated to the Service Delivery Centre general manager.
Mangena said a team was dispatched yesterday to investigate the issue and commence repairs and restoration processes.
“Cable theft and infrastructure vandalism continue to lead to significant financial losses and frequent power supply interruption to our residents. City Power loses over R4 billion across the city from cable theft and vandalism every year. Over the past three weeks, City Power Security Risk Management Control Room has recorded close to 150 incidents of theft and vandalism,” said Mangena.
Mangena added that in April, City Power communicated that materials required for repairs were increasingly becoming difficult to source as they got depleted faster than they procured them, resulting in prolonged power outages as their team battled to repair and restore power in some cases.
He said residents were encouraged to report any suspicious activity at 011 490 7553, 0800 116 166 or WhatsApp 083 579 4497.