Councillor Beverley van Reenen inspects the damage to the cable line (Supplied by City of Cape Town)
- Six people were injured during repairs to a vandalised power substation in Gugulethu.
- The electricity supply to the area has been restored, but technicians are working in difficult conditions.
- Cable theft is rampant in South Africa, with the spoils understood to be destined for scrap dealers.
Six people, among them contractors, were injured when a surge from a vandalised power cable, which was being repaired in Cape Town, exploded.
The City of Cape said electrical repairs teams were fixing the vandalised Gugulethu substation on Monday after thieves had also stolen vital infrastructure components.
The theft and vandalism caused a large power outage in Gugulethu and Manenberg.
Residents recently told a delegation of government officials they felt unsafe due to crime, particularly in areas with poor lighting.
The power supply was restored while technicians worked to repair around R160 000 worth of damage.
The member of the mayoral committee for energy, Beverley van Reenen, said the worst consequence was the severe injury of four energy contractors, one staff member, and a member of the public when a power surge from the damage caused a cable to explode.
“This shows the absolutely devastating consequences of vandalism, theft and illegal connections.”
The City said there were rewards on offer for information on the vandals and thieves, and for the recovery of the stolen goods.
“We condemn the extreme pain and suffering that has been caused from this incidence of vandalism,” Van Reenen added.
She thanked the staff who fixed the sub-station in trying conditions.
The staffer and contractors are still in hospital recovering.
Cable theft is rampant in South Africa, with thieves understood to be selling their haul to scrap metal dealers. Thefts often involve major excavation work to get to the cables which contain copper.