Vandalism challenges

Phindile Maxiti, mayoral committee member for energy and climate change

The City is facing a significant challenge with the ongoing vandalism in Tafelsig and other areas of Mitchell’s Plain.

Vandals as well as criminals are stealing and damaging infrastructure in the area which is placing significant pressure on City resources.

This affects residents, who now do not have adequate street lighting.

In some areas, street lighting infrastructure that was recently refurbished has been hacked down leaving the areas in darkness at night.

City staff often need to be escorted by SAPS and private security when performing their duties on site.

We need the support of the community to help protect our staff and the community’s electricity infrastructure. We cannot allow this to continue.

The area had a neighbourhood watch which proved successful in curbing electrical infrastructure vandalism.

We do, however, need the help of the community by them taking ownership of the infrastructure that services their area and safeguarding it.

Residents are encouraged to report damage and especially criminal acts to the City and SAPS.

The City encourages residents to report outages, and we welcome anonymous tip-offs.

Without the help from our residents, the City will never win the war against these crimes.

To encourage this, the City offers a reward of R5 000 to anyone who provides information that leads to arrest, confiscation of stolen or illegal goods or the handing in of illegal or stolen goods.

This reward is also applicable to information leading to the arrest of people vandalising, damaging or stealing electricity infrastructure or installing illegal connections.

Single lights are attended to within two days of being reported, but if the fault involves multiple lights and its nature involves damaged cable or vandalised infrastructure, then the repairs are concluded within 14 days.

With the national Covid-19 lockdown regulations and recent storms across the metro as well as Eskom’s load-shedding, we have experienced backlogs, and City officials are trying their absolute best to work through service request backlogs.

Almost R13.5 million was spent by the City’s electricity generation and distribution department between July 2019 and May 2020 to replace and repair damaged and stolen infrastructure.

Sadly, vandalism and theft of critical electricity infrastructure is a challenge across the city and it more often than not affects the most vulnerable residents of Cape Town.

Much of this was spent in Area South which includes Philippi, Mitchell’s Plain, Muizenberg, and Wynberg.

Vandalism not only impacts negatively on residents’ lives but also on the public purse.

Money that can be spent on other projects to improve the lives of residents has to be redirected to fix what is being destroyed.

To report damage to municipal electrical infrastructure SMS 31220 or email: power@capetown.gov.za.

Anonymous tip-offs should be made to 112 from a cellphone (toll free) and 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 for emergencies.