Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Welkom: Seven major electrical substations supplying power to Naudeville, Bedelia, St Helena, Doorn, Odendaalsrus, Bronville, Virginia, Rietspark and Thabong South, encompassing Bongani Hospital and Central University of Technology (CUT), were vandalised.

The damage and cable theft to these substations in one week (from 6 May to 13 May) is valued at R7 million, equivalent to annual expenditure of R7 million.

In the statement, Municipal Manager; Mr Thabiso Tsoaeli, the substations were vandalised every 24 hours.

“The attacks happened while we were all focusing on the elections. It was clearly a well planned and executed activity by a resourceful and organised group with a clear intention to sabotage service delivery and instigate communities to protest against the municipality.” said Municipal Manager.

The South African Police Services (SAPS) has been roped in to support Matjhabeng Public Safety Unit to investigate the modus operandi, follow up leads and arrest the syndicate.

Cable theft and vandalism to electrical substations in Matjhabeng has been a cause for concern and recent statistics have revealed an increase annually.

In the financial year 2012 -2013 July to June there were 144 incidents reported, costing tax payers R4 million. From 2013 – 2014, 157 incidents reported; costing R5 million. During 2014 – 2015, 223 incidents reported; costing R7 million. In 2015-2016 the incidents dropped at 134; costing R4.9 million.

The 2017 -2018 financial year, we saw a significant drop to 49 incidents; costing R2 million. This financial year has seen substantial increase with 145 incidents from July 2018 to April 2019, costing Matjhabeng R4 million, with seven incidents in the second week of May amounting to a staggering amount of R7 million.

In another incident; on 13 May 2019, break-ins occurred at Virginia Municipal storage and the Bronville substation. Cables, tools and other equipment valued at R1.2 million were stolen. The same night, a sewer treatment plant station was broken into near Merriespruit and vandalised. The cost to repair the plant is valued at R500 000.