JeVanne Gibbs
1 minute read
1 Jul 2014
6:00 am

‘Druggies’ run amok around Power Park

JeVanne Gibbs

Cable thieves known as "nyaope heads" continue to roam the area surrounding Power Park in Orlando East, Soweto, in the hope of obtaining metal to sell following the collapse of parts of the decommissioned power station.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS. A security guard armed with a knobkerrie patrols the scene at the collapsed Power Park building in Soweto yesterday. Metal thieves continue to loot the building despite last week's collapse being triggered by metal thieves who stripped the building of vital structural components. Picture: Alaister Russell

“It has been like this since Friday when the search for more people was suspended,” said a security guard who did not want to be identified.

“We are 18 guards on duty for 24 hours, and patrol the entire area. It has been problematic this weekend with the metal exposed like this, as people keep trying to steal it.”

Suspected metal thieves have been inside the power station, possibly causing its downfall, and trapping an unconfirmed number of people beneath rubble.

Video footage obtained by The Citizen showed men believed to be stripping metal from the building before it collapsed.

After stealing the metal, it is sold and the money is used to buy drugs.

Gauteng co-operative governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo lambasted people and businesses that benefited from the sale of the stolen metal.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela confirmed that no arrests have been made.

“Investigations are on-going, as police are trying to establish whether all the injured people were in fact stealing metal at the time of the building collapsing,” said Makhubela.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) spokesperson Nana Radebe said the search for more people was concluded on Friday.

“Engineers will be on site to inspect the collapsed building. They are expected to compile and provide a report within four days,” said Radebe.