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Collapsed pylons – 48 hours in the dark and counting for many Tshwane residents, City asks Eskom for help

Collapsed pylons – 48 hours in the dark and counting for many Tshwane residents, City asks Eskom for help
City of Tshwane and Eskom employees attend to one of the collapsed pylons in Silver lakes, east of Pretoria, on Tuesday 11 April, 2023. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

While power has been restored to some areas, about 44 are still without electricity after seven powerlines collapsed on Sunday, allegedly owing to vandalism.

The City of Tshwane says it is in the process of reconnecting areas affected by the collapse of the pylons along the N4 east freeway between Solomon Mahlangu and Simon Vermooten roads.

Newly elected mayor Cilliers Brink said: “A core priority was getting the lines removed from the N4 which was reopened yesterday afternoon.”

However, many Pretoria East and North residents were still without power on Tuesday morning. These areas include: 

Baviaanspoort Prison, Queenswood, Boschkop, Derdepoort (Zambezi Manor), Donkerhoek, Doornpoort, Eersterust, Garsfontein, Glenway Estate, Grootvlei East and West, Kameeldrift, Kilner Park, Leeuwfontein, Mamelodi, Montana Park, Moregloed, Pretorius Park, Pumulani, Roodepark, Rooiwal, Sable Hills, Silverton, Sinoville, Vastfontein Ext, Waltloo, Wapadrand, Waterval, Waverley, Woodhill, Woodlands, Zeekoegat, Bergtuin, Koedoespoort Industrial, Weavind Park, Jan Niemand Park, Montana, Montana Park, Montana Gardens, Pyramid, Haakdoornfontein, Lusthof, Bultfontein, Honningneskrans and East Lynne. 

City of Tshwane and Eskom employees attend to one of the collapsed pylons in Silver lakes, east of Pretoria, 11 April, 2023. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

According to the City, the incident not only left many parts of the city without power but also led to the loss of 300 megawatts of power in a country battling to stabilise its electricity supply.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Hand-to-Mouth: South Africa’s power lifeline frays as Eskom scrambles for diesel

The incident also led to a car pile-up in which two people were reportedly injured, as well as the closure of the N4 freeway’s on- and off-ramps.

“Preliminary findings by the City’s energy and electricity team suggest that three pylons were vandalised which caused powerlines to fall and collapse on the road, leading to the closure of the freeway,” said City spokesperson Selby Bokaba.

Two  injured patients were assessed and treated on the scene, then taken to hospital, on Sunday, 9 April, 2023. (Photo: Pro Med EMS)

On Tuesday, April 11, 2023, City of Tshwane and Eskom employees clear a field where power pylons collapsed in Silver Lakes. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Brink added: “I’m told by councillors in the area that there have been several attempts and repairs over a period of time to steal the metal that  forms part of the pylon. There is a possibility that this is what happened… the incident was due to criminal vandalism and the extent of the problem is enormous. We cannot make promises but will keep the public informed.”

Getting power back

While the estimated time for restoration of power to all affected areas has not been made known to the public yet, it has been restored to these areas:

Die Hoewes, Equestria, Faerie Glen, Hazeldean, Lombardy Estate, Lombardy Meander, Lyttelton, Mooikloof, Mooiplaats, Moreletapark, Olympus, Paramount Estates, Pretorious Ext 40, Shere, Silver Lakes, Six Fountains, The Wilds, Tygervalley, Willow Acres, Woodlands Boulevard and Zwavelpoort.

Tshwane pylons

The collapsed pylons hold high-voltage cables running across the N4 highway. (Photo: Pro Med EMS)

The City said on Tuesday morning it was prioritising energising the Pumulani Substation which feeds Mamelodi and other areas that are still out. Bokaba added that the City was also exploring back-feeding Silverton, Koedoespoort and Riviera, all the way up to Waltloo.

City of Tshwane manager Johann Mettler has since written to Eskom to ask for help with labour, materials and equipment to fast-track power restoration. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    Vandalised? This is sabotage. The authorities don’t seem to realise we are at war with organised crime. Our infrastructure is being looted bit for bit, and it won’t be long before we are in a pre-colonial state with no infrastructure, no power, no water, and no law to speak of.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Chaos, vandalism, murder, corruption, sabotage – all part of the new normal in SA today! Talk about going backwards…and so quickly! The ANC should be proud of themselves and the speed with which our devolution is happening!

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