Nelson Mandela Bay mayor offers R20,000 reward after cable ‘sabotage’ causes extensive electricity outages
‘There is a strong suspicion that this was an act of sabotage and by no means just an ordinary act of theft,’ said Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Retief Odendaal.
Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Retief Odendaal has offered a reward of R20,000 for information that could lead to the arrest of those involved in the cutting of a major power cable that has left seven wards in the metro without power since Friday.
Odendaal said that he had visited the site in KwaNobuhle where the 66-kilovolt line was cut.
“There is a strong suspicion that this was an act of sabotage and by no means just an ordinary act of theft. The reason for such suspicion is the fact that only a small section of the cables has been removed at a very strategic place — done in such a way to cause seven wards in the KwaNobuhle cluster to be left without electricity for an extended period of time.”
He said a specialist team had to be flown in from Gauteng to repair the cable, with the best-case scenario being that power would be restored on Sunday night or Monday evening.
“We have activated a Joint Operational Centre in KwaNobuhle so that the metro police, SAPS and traffic police can be deployed to protect our community from potential criminal activity whilst there is no electricity.”
Odendaal said he would open a criminal charge of theft and sabotage with the police.
In March this year, after a substation servicing the Coega Industrial Development Zone and Motherwell exploded, a forensic investigation was launched to ascertain the causes of the explosion. It was estimated that the metro had suffered losses of R40-million to the substation.
Investigators found what Odendaal called “likely the biggest corruption scheme” in the history of the administration. Shortly after, the city announced the precautionary suspension of seven officials in the metro’s electricity department, which led to extensive labour protests, the shutdown of the metro’s electricity call centre, threats to hold Odenaal and city manager Noxolo Nqwazi hostage and to “shut down the city” by cutting the electricity. DM