Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM) strongly condemns the relentless attacks on its infrastructure by cable theft syndicates, with the latest incident which happened during the early hours of Thursday morning (October 11th, 2018) claiming a life of a security officer. This was after a group of twelve (12) robbers ambushed the Rietspruit WWTW where four security guards were on duty.
The robbers proceeded to cut electricity cables from a mini sub-station supplying power to the sewer treatment plant, during which they were spotted by the security personnel. It is alleged that the robbers overpowered and assaulted one of the guards who died at the scene. The municipality is working with the Vanderbijlpark SAPS in investigating the matter and sends its heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of the deceased.
Vanderbijlpark SAPS spokesperson, Sergeant Gertrude Makhale confirmed cases of murder and business robbery have been registered with police and investigations are underway.
Six (6) 300 × 4 core cables powering the plant were cut in the incident but none were stolen. Regrettably, the sudden loss of power damaged some of the electrical components in the plant, forcing the plant technicians to temporarily shut it down until repairs were concluded.
Maintenance technicians from both Metsi-a-Lekoa and the Electricity Department remain on site to monitor the performance of the plant and bring the treatment processes back to the norm.
Theft, damage and vandalism of municipal infrastructure are worrying factors which have reached crisis-level in Emfuleni. Over the past five (5) years, the municipality has lost over one million Rands on cable theft at Rietspruit WWTW alone. This latest incident will drain a further R 280 000.00 from the coffers of the already financially burdened ELM.
Without question, cable theft hampers service delivery programmes on the part of the municipality and its consumers. Rationally, ELM will not allow a situation whereby its infrastructure is subjected to an onslaught of deliberate damages by criminal elements. Emfuleni will be working closely with the SAPS to ensure that the hoodlums account for their actions.
The municipality further urges residents to assist by reporting and guarding against the vandalism of its infrastructure. Residents are requested to contact ELM Public Safety on (016) 422 3600 or the SAPS (Sedibeng Cluster Office) on (016) 450 2509/2578. Residents can also report vandalism incidents at their nearest South African police station.
Criminals trying to steal these cables left them exposed after removing cover-panels.
Emfuleni Local Municipality Media Relations Officer, Chuchi Radebe (left) and Assistant Manager for Media Relations, Makhosonke Sangweni (right) flank a municipal employee at the scene where a security officer was killed by robbers who were attempting to steal an electricity cable at the Rietspruit Waste Water Treatment Works.
Workers from a service provider work on repairing the damage caused by cable thieves at the Rietspruit Waste Water Treatment Works.