Employees of “Empuluni” with a new copper cable to replace the stolen.

PHOTO: Ntwaagae Seleka / News24

  • The municipality of Empuluni is under attack by people targeting the substation.
  • The municipality is accused of failing to protect its property.
  • He loses millions of rand due to theft and vandalism.

In the municipality of Empuleni, which is in battle, mountains are rising when people are targeting power plants.

On Wednesday night, two substations were damaged in Vanderbeilpark. The substations are two steps apart and were targeted during load reset.

A resident who declined to name his identity said a group of men were seen entering and leaving the substation.

“Our neighbors said they saw a group of men coming in and out. They later returned, pushing a shopping cart. Coming out a second time, we heard a loud bang. They stole a big cable.

“We rushed and quickly put out the fire. We managed to put out the fire before it spread, ”she said.

DA councilor Peter Verbeck accused the municipality of failing to protect its infrastructure.

Verbeck said they are concerned that funds earmarked for infrastructure protection may be diverted to another location.

He said the substations were targeted due to lack of security.

READ | Gauteng municipality denies cash flow problems, says February salaries were paid “this morning”

Verbeck said:

We know about the trend of gangs working during load shedding schedules. This has been happening for the last two or three years. The municipality is losing millions of rands from cable theft.

“Cable theft has become big business. We are in a continuous cycle of replacing lost cables. Three weeks ago, three people entered the substation, calling themselves utility workers. They cut the main cable, leaving the substation on fire. Residents because of this week was without electricity, ”he added.

Verbeck said the loss of power affects citizens and drives businesses.

“Businesses cannot trade without electricity. Some are closing. We have been told that the municipality is increasing its statutes. There is a lot of money that we can redirect to protecting our infrastructure.”

“The municipality does not protect its infrastructure at all. He has to protect it (infrastructure), but it is not. Since 2018, we are in a vicious circle where claims from creditors, employees and bank accounts are obtained. place to such an extent that we lost a lot of money, we didn’t get that money.

“Emphuleni does little to protect infrastructure. Residents and businesses are trying to protect our substations,” Verbeck said.

Financial losses

Acting Communications Manager Emfuleni Mahasonke Sangweni claimed they spend a lot of money on renovating and replacing old transformers.

“We ask that all communities play their part in taking care of public infrastructure. The priority for the safety of substations is in line with risk assessment in conjunction with our electricity department.

Sangweni said:

Price also plays a role. There have never been incidents at some substations, but once the risks are identified, a security deployment is considered.

READ | Emfuleni dysfunctional with little “evidence of improvement”

News24 reports that at the substation in Veringing a man was caught on a 20 MBA transformer.

The victim, a man with bare breasts, claimed that he had been thrown on a transformer by communal workers. His shoes, however, lay under another transformer nearby.

The municipality denied his claims and accused the man of attempting to steal electrical cables, causing him to be electrocuted.

He was later rushed to hospital.

The municipality is investigating the incident.

Eskom trouble

Meanwhile, a cable was cut off at Eskom’s Tutuka power plant this week as it completed preparations for the return of Unit 5.

Damage to the cable delayed the return of the device for three days because it took some time to detect the fault.

The cable was repaired, the unit was put back into operation.

The power company added that a few hours later it detected a pressure drop and the same turbine systems of Unit 5, which control the air for operation, were de-energized.

The control duct, which provides the turbine systems, was cut with a power tool and then removed.

The pipe was also repaired.

Sabotage

“Eskom believes it was a deliberate act of sabotage by someone who had access to an area where only employees have access and are fairly familiar with the security features in the area. Eskom has filed a criminal case. A forensic team is assisting in the investigation.

“This is the fifth sabotage incident since March 2021. All this was reported to the police. Eskom has taken steps to improve safety at all of its power plants, including the Tutuka power plant, where additional safety personnel and smart technologies have been introduced, ”Eskom said.


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