Electrocuted: City Power discovers two bodies of alleged cable theft suspects

On Monday, 24 June, City Power discovered two unknown bodies on its sites in Soweto and another in Randburg.

The discovery was made while technicians were attending to two outages which were caused by cable theft and vandalism.

One of the bodies was found in a trench in Soweto. Two cables had been cut and one had been vandalised causing an outage in Pimville zone 9 from the Soweto Substation. It is suspected that the vandalised cable was still live when the suspect attempted to cut it and was electrocuted.

On the same day there was an outage affecting Kensington B and parts of Ferndale stemming from the Bond Substation in Randburg. At midnight the team found a dead body inside the transformer.

SAPS was dispatched onsite and at 3am, the forensic pathology team also arrived onsite and conducted their work. Once all the work was complete and the body was taken, the team attempted to restore the power supply, but there were multiple faults on the circuit.

“While City Power regrets the loss of life, we would also like to bring to attention the dangers of tampering with our infrastructure.City Power is not ruling out the possibility of a cable theft syndicate, who could be well-organised, use sophisticated tools and equipment to target high value cables and network infrastructure. Due to these crimes, essential services such as water and health services are disrupted, economic activity stops, mobility is halted as traffic lights don’t work, while small businesses close and residents are plunged into darkness,” said City Power spokesperson, Isaac Mangena.


He added: “We have had a spike in vandalism and theft of our infrastructure including cables in the last few weeks particularly in Roodepoort and Randburg where there seems to be a coordinated effort of vandalism. This has resulted in a strain on our system and an increased number of trips post loadshedding. Since July 1st, 2023, City Power recorded 114 incidents of cable theft and vandalism and 15 total suspects arrested through our collaboration we have with the community members, Law Enforcement Agencies, and the City Power Security Risk Management Team. In the 2022/23 financial year, City Power recorded 2, 347 incidents of cable theft and vandalism and 278 arrests made. City Power network is battling to keep up with the winter demand, coupled with frequent cable theft, illegal connection and overall infrastructure damage.”

The entity constantly spends millions of rands each year to replace stolen or damaged cables, when the money could be chanelled towards other essential services, such as maintenance and repairs.

“The discovery of these bodies has also affected the mental health of our workforce who are already under pressure from the high demand of electricity which in some cases as led to frequent trips caused mainly by overload,” Mangena concluded.

City Power appeals to residential customers to be aware of their surroundings and report cable theft and vandalism or any suspicious activity around electrical infrastructure on 0800 116 166 or send a WhatsApp to 083 579 4497 or Call the Police on 10111.

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