The cost of vandalism in the city of Johannesburg and theft of City Power infrastructure has now surpassed R300-million and continues to rise, Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday.
Mashaba said council members had, during a meeting of the Visible Service Delivery committee, cited this as the prime reason for the slowness in putting up street lights in some areas of Johannesburg. “Criminals are vandalising street poles, stealing supply cables and newly installed equipment such as aerial bundle conductors all over the city,” he said.
“There has also been a high number of illegal connections which result in street light sections being cut off by [State power utility] Eskom, because illegal connections damage the supply transformers. All of this is having an impact on the quality of service the city is trying to deliver.”
This meant that, as the council worked on major and necessary upgrades, some of this was being undone, draining millions of rand from its budget, he said. “Having working streetlights aids with prevention of night-time accidents and crime; and as such, I’d like to urge residents to report theft and vandalism of our street lights,” Mashaba added.