City Power ramps up efforts to curb cable theft

City Power ramps up efforts to curb cable theft

R9.5-million has been allocated for the project aimed at addressing rampant cable theft in the Naturena area in the south of Johannesburg. 

City Power worker
City Power workers embarked on an operation cut illegal power connections in an informal settlement opposite Lenasia, south of Johannesburg on Tuesday. Photo by Neo Motloung

City Power says it bleeds an estimated R4.5 billion in losses per annum due to cable theft as well as technical and non-technical losses such as energy theft and ageing infrastructure. 


In just the past year, the power utility has attended to at least 2 000 complaints of cable theft while it loses an estimated R3 million a day from the theft of mini substations. 


On Wednesday, City Power CEO and Johannesburg infrastructure and environment MMC Jack Sekwaila visited the site near the Eikenhof pump station.   


Following repeated incidents of cable theft, City Power engaged community members two weeks ago and they promised to replace the copper underground network which the thieves were targeting. 


The entity has lost an estimated R2.1 million to cable theft in Naturena alone this financial year. 


“We were running underground cable here, and this is a very remote area, and because of that the criminals found it easy to come and dig up our cable and as such, we had to change our approach,” says City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava.  


“We found ourselves with multiple incidents of theft and that also meant the community would be without electricity for days, and we as City Power will also lose sales.” 


Mashava says that even though the copper cables have been swopped out for aluminium conductors that are of a lesser value, this is also not a fool-proof solution. 


“Sometimes they [the criminals] don’t know what they are going to find, so they still dig and still leave us with some damage. We also realise that there’s a new market for aluminium - they make pots.” 


The project, which was launched on 13 March 2023, is expected to be completed this week and will go live in April. 


Sekwaila issued a stern warning to scrap yard owners to stop receiving stolen cables and metal scraps. 


“Don’t accept stolen City or government infrastructure in your areas. Once we find that, we will take your license and close the shop permanently. There are regulations that they know very well themselves. We will be visiting this coming week.” 


Sekwaila says he will be meeting with Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramakgopa to see how the national government can assist in the City’s efforts to provide an uninterrupted supply of electricity to residents. 


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