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Surge in Infrastructure Theft and Vandalism Causes Backlog in CoCT Streetlight Repairs

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

A surge in theft and vandalism is causing a significant backlog in streetlight repairs in the City of Cape Town, leaving some communities in darkness for extended periods. This ongoing crisis is exacerbated by the country's Stage 6 load shedding.

Between the months of May and August, CoCT's electricity teams received an influx of over 3,000 service requests for streetlights in Mitchells Plain alone, including Tafelsig. Although over 1,600 of these service calls have been addressed, the city is battling to keep up with the rising tide of vandalism and theft, which is putting significant strain on the city's resources.

In addition to the Mitchells Plain requests, the city experienced an unprecedented number of electricity service enquiries in June, reaching a staggering record of 50,000. This spike is attributed to widespread cable theft and infrastructure vandalism, intensified by the current power cuts.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Energy, Beverley van Reenen, stated that in Area South the streetlight infrastructure was gravely impacted by theft and vandalism. Despite the city's attempts to manage service requests swiftly, conforming to a 14-day service level agreement, the sheer extent of the vandalism has led to a severe backlog in service responses.

Van Reenen emphasised that while the city is doing its utmost to attend to the repairs, the escalation of theft and vandalism incidents is placing immense strain on the city's resources. City officials intercepted miscreants earlier this week in Mitchells Plain, carrying over 150 metres of overhead electricity cable.

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