Vandalised substation leaves streets in dark


After almost two weeks of darkness – and much frustration – there is once again light on the streets of Tafelsig.

Fuming residents contacted the Plainsman recently because their streets were left in darkness after a substation in Tafelsig was vandalised on Tuesday May 3.

The substation, situated on the corner of Paulsberg Street and Versveld Crescent, affected five areas in Tafelsig, including Paulsberg, Kilimanjaro and Rockies streets and Versveld and Sugarloaf crescents.

After the Plainsman enquired about this with the City of Cape Town, they confirmed that the substation had been repaired on Friday May 13, and pointed out that because there were so many incidents of vandalism in Tafelsig, the City needed residents to help prevent similar incidents.

According to Tafelsig ward councillor Sheval Arendse, he and residents had sent the City of Cape Town about 50 complaints.

Tafelsig resident Theresa Hendricks said the area had no street lights, posing a danger to her children who had to travel at 5am when it was still dark.

“Crime in the area is rife. It is extremely dangerous as it is even more unsafe in complete darkness at night and in the early hours of the mornings,” she said.

Joyce Arendse said on Tuesday she had heard a loud bang and when she went out it was completely dark.

“It’s pathetic. Why do we have to wait for more than seven days for the City to fix the problem? It is scary at night and how must people coming from work feel? Honestly, it is unfair and very upsetting,” she said.

Angry resident Maria Maliqua said the faulty street lights affected households because they had to turn on their outside lights as well as those inside – and they had to be more vigilant.

“A few nights ago, there were guys standing on the field (where the substation is based) waiting for a girl to rob her as she came from the MyCiTi stop. A woman who doesn’t even know her walked with her and waited until she crossed the field.

“People cannot even use their phones to contact their families. The moment that happens, the thieves will rob you. Why must we live in fear, like we are in prison? We have to look out for each other as residents and the substation needs to be sealed properly,” she said.

Peter Andrews added: “I was in my house relaxing and then I heard a loud bang. When I came out all I saw was darkness. We couldn’t see them because the guys had hoodies on.

“Now we are all affected, and it is the perfect opportunity for thieves to break-in and rob residents.”

Magdelena Blouw said she had called the electricity department five times since the lights went off and has reference numbers to prove it.

“People walk over the streets. It’s dangerous and walking over the field is even more dangerous. What kind of services are they rendering to us. This area is a crime hot spot. Does no one care about residents, school pupils and the elderly?”

Mr Arendse said he em-pathised with the residents.

“I understand the frustration. The City should have come out when they received the third and fourth notifications. (But) they did not. I sent them photographs of the vandalised substation via email.”

Ernest Sonnenberg, the City’s mayoral committee member for Utility Services, said due to the recent inclement weather, the electricity services department had had a higher than normal volume of calls that needed to be attended to.

“It must be highlighted, however, that Tafelsig is an area in which the vandalism of infrastructure is near constant. With that in mind, the Department of Electricity Services has requested that councillors and other community leaders engage with the community about taking ownership of the costly infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Sonnenberg said the department installed a new control box on Friday May 13 and that some residents had already come forward with information linking certain residents to the vandalism.

The City’s Metal Theft Unit can be contacted on 080 022 277.