The MMC of environment and infrastructure services (EISD) for the City of Johannesburg, Michael Sun, on Wednesday called on residents to play an active role in guarding infrastructure.
Sun said critical infrastructure, which was essential to providing basic services to the people of Johannesburg, remains under siege from vandals and thieves.
According to the municipality, cable theft continued at alarmingly high levels during the festive season, especially after incidents of flooding at the beginning of December.
In the past week, City Power continued to battle rampant cable theft in Roodepoort, with 17 incidents reported.
Last year more than 200 JoJo tanks, provided by Johannesburg Water to communities to supply areas without formal services, were either stolen or vandalised.
“This situation breaks my heart, cable theft and infrastructure vandalism is killing service delivery across the country. We need communities to work with us this year to ensure we put an immediate stop to this plague,” said Sun.
The EISD launched an infrastructure protection initiative to work with neighbourhood watches and other groups to help safeguard City Power’s electrical grid, but cable theft remains rampant.
“Though our effort with City Power has helped to put 147 cable thieves behind bars in the past six months of 2022 — almost double the amount compared to the previous 12-month period — cable theft is still far too high, with instances occurring daily.
“This year we are going to redouble our efforts and ensure City Power works in tandem with law enforcement agencies and shoulder-to-shoulder with communities to extinguish this horrendous crime against lives, livelihoods and our national stability,” he said.
City Power is crafting an emergency plan to deal with cable theft immediately, which will include adding to its security budget, which already stands at more than R100m.
Joburg Water is also revising its approach to the deployment of water tankers.
The entity deploys or installs JoJo Tanks in communities as a last resort when conventional tap water cannot be supplied. However, this cannot be continued, at the rate these units are disappearing in communities.
“Information about incidents of cable thieves and vandals, or JoJo tanks disappearing or being damaged, is seldom shared by the communities in which they occur.
“This is why I am appealing to every single Joburg citizen to not sit back and watch our valuable infrastructure being stolen or vandalised, only to enrich the criminals living among us. If you see or hear something, report it. Information can be supplied anonymously too. Your city needs your help,” he said.
To report cable theft to City Power, use any of these 24-hour hotlines: 011 490 7900; 011 490 7911; 011 490 7553. Alternatively, WhatsApp 083 579 4497.
To report vandalism or theft of Joburg Water infrastructure use this anonymous line: 0800002587.
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