Bedfordview residents can expect to be without power for days after a critical power cable was damaged in a failed attempt to steal it, Eskom said in a statement on Tuesday.
The cable supplies the City of Ekurhuleni’s Bedfordview substation.
“Eskom has been working around the clock to locate the point where the cable theft occurred, assessing the extent of the damage caused, and preparing for repairs,” the power utility stated.
“Due to the extent of the damage caused by the attempted cable theft and vandalism of the electricity infrastructure, it is estimated that supply could be restored within four to five days,” said Eskom.
“The incident has been reported to the South African Police Service for investigation.”
Eskom said it had reported an increase in “illegal electricity-related activities” in Gauteng.
It assured that it had intensified efforts to address the ongoing theft and vandalism of its electricity infrastructure.
“Partnering with communities and law enforcement agencies has shown results in the efforts being made, as perpetrators conducting electricity-related criminal acts were arrested recently,” Eskom said.
Two Eskom employees and a supplier were arrested at the beginning of November and charged with fraud, theft, and corruption related to the disappearance of spares at Tutuka power station valued at hundreds of millions of rand.
Eskom also alleged it paid hundreds of millions of rand for goods that were never delivered and services that were never rendered.
The arrests followed months of internal investigative work by Eskom in cooperation with the law enforcement agencies in Mpumalanga.
Eskom’s also established the existence of a syndicate responsible for the theft of approximately R100 million worth of fuel oil per month from the power station.
The power utility said that further warrants of arrest were being prepared involving suspects in the fuel oil syndicate.
“Members of the public are encouraged to report those conducting illegal electricity-related activities to the law enforcement agencies, City of Ekurhuleni, and Eskom.”