Streetlights left on day and night

Alfie Weyers, Table View

The street lights in Van de Graaf Street, Table View, have been on day and night for the whole of February. They are still on right now.

Several calls to various numbers have led to nothing. It is no wonder that residents eventually just accept the poor and incompetent service and give up wasting their time and money in complaining/ advising. Or is this possibly the aim? No response eventually leads to no complaints? What a poor show.

* Ernest Sonnenberg, Mayco member for utility services, responds:

The City of Cape Town has been forced to keep streetlights on during the day in certain areas to help prevent and monitor the occurrence of cable theft.

The City is spending millions of rands to repair and replace vital electricity infrastructure as a result of theft and vandalism, and this method has proved to be an effective deterrent as thieves rarely rzisk their lives by hacking into live wires.

Under normal circumstances, there would be no justification for wasting power and we should all be diligently conserving this precious commodity.

Unfortunately, the City is suffering from an unprecedented onslaught from cable thieves. Cable theft is draining the resources of the City’s Electricity Services Department and hampering our efficiency in attending to other public electricity complaints.

The cost of keeping relatively small stretches of lights burning pales in comparison to the astronomical amounts associated with the replacement of the same length of stolen cable and vandalised equipment per incident.

This is in addition to the inconvenience caused to residents and the additional costs of welding down access covers and encasing underground cables in concrete to secure our equipment.

In an attempt to combat vandalism and theft on the street-lighting networks, the City has started replacing copper cables with aluminium cables. Cables are being laid deeper than normal and are being encased in concrete.

Pole covers have been welded closed and control boxes have been pole-mounted as opposed to ground-mounted, making access more difficult.

Unfortunately, in areas where vandalism and theft are particularly rife, the City keeps the lights on day and night as this is a deterrent to criminals.

We will not give up in our endeavours to ensure a high level of service delivery in Cape Town but we also need residents, communities and the South African Police Service to work with us. I appeal to anyone with information about cable thieves to contact the City’s Metals Theft Unit on 0800 222 771.