Open electric box a cause for concern

Ralph Carelse at the open electric box in Westridge.

An electric box in Harvester Way in Westridge, which has been open since 2017, is sparking concern for the safety of children in the area.

Resident, scribe and secretary at the Verenigde Gereformeerde Kerk,(United Reformed Church), Ralph Carelse, 70, said it is not nice to walk past an open electric box that is exposed to people and animals in the street.

Mr Carelse said he stopped a group of workers from the electricity department who were in the area in May this year.

“I asked them to please fix the box, they said they will get back to me and covered it with a transparent plastic bag,” he said.

The bag is no longer covering the electric box, he said.

“My fear is that a child will play close to this box and the child could get hurt from playing around an open electric box. This is a health hazard to this community and we cannot have these things delayed,” he said.

Over time the plates inside the box have also disappeared, he said.

Ward 78 councillor Eddie Andrews said he can only act once matters like these are reported.

“I would like to thank resident Ralph Carelse for his active citizenry. This is the first time that the matter has been brought to my attention,” he said.

Mr Andrews said vandalised infrastructure must be reported to his office via the WhatsApp service request number 067 140 1405, supplying the location and contact information.

Once the service request is registered, then the electricity meter box could be repaired from the City of Cape Town’s repair and maintenance budget.

“I would like to appeal to our community to report any acts of vandalism to the number given. They may remain anonymous,” Mr Andrews said.

Phindile Maxiti, mayoral committee member for energy and climate change, said replacing a distribution kiosk costs about R15 000 per unit.

The cost of repairs and equipment replacement as a result of vandalism in the Mitchell’s Plain area for the past financial year alone was more than R2.5 million, he said.

If residents log a call with the City’s Customer Call Centre about an open electricity box that is a danger to the public, the City of Cape Town will take urgent action and repair or replace the box.

Community members should ensure they are given a reference number by the call centre when reporting the damaged infrastructure and this reference can be used in the event of follow-up or to enquire on progress, Mr Maxiti said.

“What is most unfortunate is the high incidence of vandalism on municipal infrastructure which is being experienced in the Mitchell’s Plain area. We are appealing to the communities to put a stop to this scourge. Community members can assist by taking ownership of the infrastructure servicing their community by reporting any suspicious activities near this infrastructure to the Cable Theft Law Enforcement Unit on 0800 222 771.”