The City of Johannesburg has issued an extraordinary appeal to communities to help it deal with a widening scourge of infrastructure theft that is undermining the ability of South Africa’s largest city to function effectively.
Environment & infrastructure services MEC Michael Sun said in a statement on Wednesday that residents and communities need to “play a more active role in 2023 as infrastructure critical to providing basic services to the people of Johannesburg remains under siege from vandals and thieves”.
Cable theft is a huge problem, Sun said. There were “alarmingly high levels” of cable theft during the festive season, with 17 instances occurring in Roodepoort alone.
“This situation breaks my heart. Cable theft and infrastructure vandalism are killing service delivery across the country. We need communities to work with us this year to put an immediate stop to this plague,” Sun said.
The high incidence of cable theft comes despite 147 cable thieves being put behind bars in the second half of 2022, about double the number from the same period in 2021.
“City Power is currently seized with crafting an emergency plan to deal with cable theft immediately, which will include adding to its already more than R100-million security budget.”
Theft of JoJo tanks, which are deployed in areas where there are water interruptions, are also being stolen or vandalised, prompting a rethink, too, about how and where these are distributed.
“I am appealing to every single Joburger not to sit back and watch our valuable infrastructure be stolen or vandalised only to enrich the criminals living among us. If you see or hear something, report it. Information can be supplied anonymously, too. You city needs your help.” — (c) 2023 NewsCentral Media