Cape Town – Belhar residents are concerned about the effect of infrastructure in the area after experiencing prolonged periods without power as a result of vandalism at three substations.
Ward councillor Delmaine Cottee said that when there is load shedding, it gives criminals the opportunity to vandalise various substations.
“Residents in extension 13 in Belhar face load shedding from Eskom and the difficulty that we’ve got is that once Eskom has load shedding it gives the opportunity to vandalise our substations in Belhar.
“This does not only affect the substations, but it also affects the various kiosks which are burnt down and wires being cut off. In the last few months we had almost six, if not more, kiosks burnt down in Belhar extension 13 in particular. We had one which had recently burned down in Kalala way and the second one was burnt the next morning at Hanover street.”
“Criminals and people are vandalising our infrastructure and this is becoming a major concern. Our communities are protecting these kiosks and substations but we can’t monitor them 24/7, therefore we need the assistance and the protection of Eskom as we cannot do it alone. I have been submitting names of culprits that have been vandalising our systems, but unfortunately these people are known to community members and they are afraid to pinpoint these guys due to retaliation and victimisation,” said Cottee.
Eskom spokesperson Kyle Cookson said they had seen a surge in theft and vandalism of equipment in the Cape metropole over the past few months and appeal to members of the public to report vandalism of infrastructure.
“Recent criminal activities of illegally connecting, cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure in Eskom supply areas have resulted in prolonged power outages in affected communities that have left customers frustrated.”
“Eskom continually engages community leaders and stakeholders to find sustainable solutions to protect the network. However, Eskom depends on the support from the communities to help root out electricity related crimes and bring these criminals to justice.”
“Eskom appeals to members of the public to report electricity theft such as illegal connections, electricity theft, tampering, cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure. Members of the public can report incidents by contacting the Eskom Toll-Free Crime Hotline 0800 11 27 22 or the local SAPS. Callers may remain anonymous,” said Cookson.