Merafong residents continue to suffer due to rampant cable theft

All the authorities that are meant to protect residents from the economic and security risks of unchecked cable theft are currently failing the residents of Merafong.

The DA in Merafong has been working hard since April this year to get the authorities to collaborate in a “whole of society” approach to curb infrastructure theft and vandalism.

We met with senior South African Police Service (SAPS) officials to find out exactly how they want these crimes reported. We then received their undertaking to support our initiatives and to respond accordingly. We also met with the Executive Mayor, Nuzoko Best who undertook the cause to have the Municipal Manager (MM), Siyathemba Mdletetshe make statements to SAPS for every cable theft incident. We are grateful to residents who have responded to our calls by reporting their case numbers to us for tracking.

Sadly though, our infrastructure in Merafong is being stolen right under the noses of an unresponsive municipality and SAPS. Merafong has already had three municipal managers in the last two months. Such instability and uncertainty are bad for staff morale.

At the start of our campaign, SAPS reported at a local Community Police Forum (CPF) meeting that it appears as if all these efforts from various role players in our community are yielding results. However, the lethal combination of never-ending load shedding, an increase in food and fuel costs, and a shortage of jobs have created fertile ground for large cable theft syndicates to flourish. Recent nightly incidents include Greenspark, where residents disrupted the theft and kept guard over the cable.

See pictures here, here and here.

The Silver Street and Impala Street substations were vandalised on the 28th of November, and every morning, lists of incidents from Welverdiend are shared on various CPF groups. The Municipality is now worried that they will not have the money to pay for cable to get Welverdiend powered up again. At the time of writing, large swaths of Oberholzer are without power and both Eureka Park and Senatus retirement villages are also in the dark.

The DA in Merafong will now escalate our efforts and will take the following steps:

• At every CPF meeting, our councillors will require a full report back from SAPS.
• We will ask for a full report on each of the cases we are tracking from the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety.
• We will provide feedback to our residents and answers from these authorities on all our communications platforms.

Our DA ward councillors are inundated with complaints daily and we will continue to report cases and give feedback to the community, but the situation is dire.

In the meantime, residents are reminded to keep a vigilant lookout in their communities and report any incidences immediately to SAPS so that a case number can be dropped here for us to track.

The DA will continue to put pressure on SAPS and Merafong Municipality while we enjoin the Provincial Government. It is no excuse that cable theft is rampant everywhere in the province. Action is now required.

Please report any cases of cable theft here-

Cable theft in Merafong continues unabated due to municipal apathy

Since my statement last week to raise awareness about the devastating impact of cable theft in Merafong communities, several alarming developments have taken place that increase the suffering of residents.

Cable thieves have since targeted the Bloukrans substation, Dolomite and Talc streets, the swimming pool substation and the Fluorspar and Umfolozi substations. Furthermore, 100 metres of cable at the Carletonville Civic Centre and cable feeding the Watersedge area have also been stolen.

See pictures here, here and here

The list is inconclusive, but this video shows a municipal worker telling a concerned resident that criminals plan their outings according to Eskom’s load shedding schedules.

It is also deeply concerning that earlier this week a tip-off sent via the WRDM was completely ignored by municipal officials, the South African Police Service and Mayor Best.

Only in the evening did the Mayor respond that she accidentally sent an investigation team to Botha Str in Fochville instead of Carletonville.

This complete apathy is reinforced on social media. An HR official working for the municipality responded in the following way on Facebook:

“Ward councillors in a ward where a cable is stolen must be the one who goes and opens a case with the police or officials from public safety, you choose. Electricians cannot afford to spend the entire day at the police station giving statements to 4 different cops only for the statement to be written down by the 5th cop. It’s your ward, go and report the cable theft and let officials get on with the business of trying to replace the cable. Common sense is free.”

The cynical and completely inaccurate ending that “common sense is free” neatly sums up that some municipal officials are not only ignorant, but they are also actually careless and cruel when it comes to the plight of residents.

It is also very concerning to me that residents are increasingly attacking the very ward councillors who are trying to assist them and who are representing the interests of residents in Council.

Ward councillors have a very specific role according to municipal legislation. They are not allowed to take over the work of municipal officials and they are not required to report incidents on behalf of residents. It is therefore not useful if community members misdirect their anger at ward councillors, however justified that anger may be.

Between a broken municipality and an equally broken SAPS, it seems only a handful of ward councillors are still trying to help their communities.

The DA in Merafong is still awaiting answers from the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and we will be taking further steps in Council and will work with community members to seek solutions. Merafong residents are in a fight for survival.

Sign our petition here:


Metrorail has collapsed in Gauteng

Prasa’s Metrorail service has totally collapsed in Gauteng. The service that was scheduled to open today on the Pienaarspoort line was unable to do so due to cable theft.

Prasa had previously announced that with the lifting of lockdown levels it will only start operating the Pienaarspoort line due to coronavirus considerations. However, Prasa is hiding its real problems behind the coronavirus.

The real reason Metrorail cannot reopen in Gauteng is because Prasa has neglected and failed to protect its infrastructure. Infrastructure failure combined with high levels of theft and vandalism is preventing Metrorail from resuming services in the province.

It is unlikely that Metrorail will be able to resume its full services once the pandemic has passed in the province due to the scale of the collapse of its infrastructure.

The DA calls on the Prasa administrator to come clean to the commuters of Gauteng about the true scale of its problems and why it cannot resume operations in the province.

Cable Theft at Van Rhyn station in Benoni leaves thousands of commuters stranded

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that several trains are not running this morning due to cable theft at the Van Rhyn station in Benoni.

Thousands of commuters have been left stranded due to the overnight cable theft at the station

Trains between Germiston and Dunswart as well as Kaalfontein and Pretoria have been affected by cable theft.

It is unacceptable that commuters are now forced to make alternate transport arrangements due to the lack of security at Metrorail train stations.

Residents in Gauteng need to be given a public transport system that is reliable and affordable.

The DA is calling on the Gauteng Provincial Government to speed up the process of handing over the Metrorail service to the province as this will ensure that the service runs adequately and that there is sufficient security.

Where we govern in the Western Cape, we have established a Rail Enforcement Unit that not only oversees the safety of commuters but also ensures that that cable theft does not occur and trains are not vandalised.