ALL KINDS OF locks could be seen all over and signs of ‘closed due to power outage’ are sorry state of affairs for businesses in the Johannesburg City Center.
And billions of rands have been lost as a result of cable theft since last Sunday, plunging most of the CBD into darkness.
One of the busiest and tallest buildings in Africa Carlton Center, has been shut down, that is reportedly contributing millions into the coffers of the province -thanks to tenants such as Transnet.
Most of the shop-owners did not want to speculate how much has been lost, suffice to indicate its worth millions and could also result in job losses as they try to recoup what has been lost.
An irritated Advocate Amos Lehong from Medupi Incorporated who operates from the infamous lawyers’ Schreiner Building -opposite Johannesburg High Court, says the had to resort to mere administrative work
“This has become costly and inconvenience for us to conduct our job. By now we should have spent over R100 000 this past week only due to extensive traveling, calling as part of administrative role which is normally done in a day,” he said.
But the power could be restored as early as Saturday, according to City Power.
Copper thieves or ‘izinyoka’ gained access to the underground tunnels at the weekend, where they burnt cables before cutting off kilometres of the expensive metal.
Technical advisor at the South African Revenue Protection Association, Rens Bindeman, says that copper theft costs the country up to R11 billion a year.
The utility’s spokesperson Sol Masolo says: “It is within confined spaces on the ground in the tunnel. There’s a lot of cables that burnt and there’s a lot of them that were damaged and the length of the tunnel is quite long. It’s about 9km long.”
“The biggest problem that we have is that there’s so much copper available you can just take it, especially in Joburg areas. There’s a lot of it around.”
Lucky Sindane from the City of Johannesburg’s forensic and investigations services says it appears that police officers might be involved in the cable theft syndicate
Mayor Herman Mashaba says he has involved national Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and provincial police commissioner Deliwe de Lange
So far, sixteen people have been arrested and a staggering R15m lost, according to the City, that has been caught off guard.
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