Cable theft adds to Bonteheuwel blackouts

Thieves dug up the pavement in Lepelhout Street in Bonteheuwel about a month ago to steal the cables.

Load shedding has left many in the dark, but cable theft is adding to the problem in Bonteheuwel.

The community was without power for most of Saturday July 1 and July 2, say residents.

At the time, Stage-6 load shedding was causing blackouts of between two and four hours up to three times a day, but because of cable theft, Bonteheuwel stayed without power even when load-shedding scheduled for the area ended.

Natalie Daniels said residents had noticed holes that thieves had dug to steal underground electrical cables.

“It really is very dangerous and so frustrating for residents,” she said.

Soraya Salie said her power had only come back on, on Sunday July 2 after being out all of the previous day.

“We’ve been experiencing power outages due to cable theft for the last two weeks. The criminals are taking advantage of the darkness, and the police take forever to answer their phones. I think that it is the tik koppe that do this, they are really messing up our communities.”

Trevor Marman said residents were afraid to fill their fridges and freezers because they did not want the food to spoil when the power went out.

“The community is so fed up, and I hope that they won’t take things into their own hands. This has really affected our families big time.”

Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie thanked the City’s electricity department for restoring power to the A and B blocks of Bonteheuwel, after outages caused by cable theft.

“Consistent load shedding has played the single biggest role for the disruption of supply,” he said. “The pressure of on and off makes it excessively difficult for the system to remain stable and your appliances to remain functional.”

Bishop Lavis police spokeswoman Samantha Adonis said metal theft was a problem in the precinct, and SAPS, together with City Law Enforcement and the Metro Police, was checking scrap yards and clamping down on the sale and possession of stolen copper and other metal.

“We do a lot of Imbizos informing the community about these crimes. We also do foot patrols and pamphleteering in the area to educate the community on how to report these type of crimes. We truly had many successes related to these coper-theft and metal-theft crimes.”

Some of the stolen metal goods confiscated by Bishop Lavis SAPS over the last month, in Bonteheuwel.