PICTURE: Cable theft goes horribly wrong

PICTURE: Cable theft goes horribly wrong

The case against a suspected cable thief who was burnt while allegedly attempting to steal from a substation in Tasbet Park, Mpumalanga, has been postponed.

The suspect was electrocuted when the power tripped at the substation.  He was found lying next to the substation with severe burns last Wednesday, Witbank News reported.

Residents in the area were left without electricity as a result. The suspect was arrested for cable theft and was supposed to appear in Witbank Magistrates’ Court on Monday, August 31, but the case was postponed, as the suspect is still in hospital recovering.

In a separate incident, cellphone video footage emerged showing a severely burnt man running out of a substation in Lynnville, Mpumalanga, earlier this year.

Community members who live near the substation had heard an explosion and went to investigate after a power outage. The man was said to have suffered severe burns all over his torso, arms and face. Skin was left hanging off his body, and some of his hair was also burnt off.

Residents told the man to walk to the nearby clinic for help, where he was believed to have been arrested. The municipality later managed to restore power to Lynnville and parts of Ackerville, which were without power for about six hours of that day.

Warning: Not for sensitive viewers.

In June, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SACCI) Copper Theft Barometer indicated that copper theft had increased to R13.6-million from R12.6-million between March and April 2015.

SACCI communications officer Tshidi Maotshe said the figure was a drop in the ocean when taking into account the impact on the economy.

“Recent estimates put the loss between R5 and R7 billion a year,” she said. The barometer is based on theft from Eskom, Telkom and Transnet, and it calculates only the cost of replacing the metal. Maotshe said the copper theft volume indicator increased to 179 metric tonnes in April 2015 from 173 metric tonnes in March 2015.

– Caxton News Service


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