Eskom technicians are becoming soft targets for criminals. Concerns are growing for the safety of technicians attending to repairs and other duties at the utility’s substations particularly in Soweto and Mabopane. There have been a series of attacks and robberies on Eskom technicians across Gauteng which usually occur while technical teams are busy with transformers and street lights repairs
Spokesperson for Eskom in Gauteng, Amanda Qithi, explains that perpetrators demand wallets and cell phones, among other items of value and then used unmarked vehicles without registration plates to get away.
“At a substation on 25 May 2022, a technician was stabbed while he and his colleagues were installing meters in Nomzamo, Soweto. He was stabbed in the face and chest; was treated at a medical facility and is recovering at home. We condemn such acts of violence against our employees in Gauteng, where they are often assaulted, intimidated and placed in extreme situations such as being held hostage by some communities.” Qithi elaborates.
Eskom says that attacks on technicians not only hinder the progress of repair work of crucial projects, delaying their completion, but have also resulted in Eskom employees suffering post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety.
Armed thieves attack Eskom technicians in Mabopane pic.twitter.com/7u8XWOsPnI
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) May 26, 2022
City of Tshwane’s MMC for Community Safety, Grandy Theunessen, is equally concerned about the matter saying, “With the problem we have regarding infrastructure and the people of Eskom being attacked, this should be seen in a very serious light. In actual fact it is an act of terrorism, and high priority should be given to the safety of technicians who are rendering the service out there.”
Theunessen adds that all forces should join hands in resolving this issue.
Communities condemn criminality
On the other hand, members of the communities concerned in Mabopane have explicitly condemned these acts of criminality against Eskom employees with some suggesting that the employees must be accompanied on site by police and private security so as to deter criminal activity.
Crime against Eskom employees hitting the city’s coffers
These crimes do not just stop with Eskom’s technicians, but criminals are also targeting the company’s infrastructure – copper cables in particular. Consequently, the City of Tshwane has had to set aside a special budget of ten million Rand as a means to combat the escalating incidents of cable theft.
Eskom urges those who might be aware of crimes or acts of violence against Eskom employees to report them to the South African Police Service or on Eskom’s crime line number 0800 112 722.