Two suspects were trying to make a getaway with copper cables and 500 LED streetlight covers, which may have been stolen from a school.

An apparent cable thief was shot and killed in a shootout with City Power security in Johannesburg.

The utility’s spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, revealed on Monday afternoon that the incident occurred on Vermont Street in Eldorado Park on Friday.

“The entity’s private security was called to respond to a suspected case of cable theft that was in progress,” Mangena said.

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“When they arrived at the scene of the crime, one of the suspects pulled a pistol and fired shots at security officers. The armed officers fired back, and the suspect was fatally wounded.

“A murder inquest has been opened at the Eldorado Park Police Station. Meanwhile, another suspect who was also on the scene was unharmed and arrested on the spot.”

This suspect was found in possession of copper cables and 500 LED streetlight covers, which were believed to have been stolen from a nearby school.

The 22-year-old man was charged with theft and possession of stolen items.

“This incident comes amidst increased cases of cable theft and vandalism across the City of Johannesburg in recent weeks,” Mangena added.

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“In the month of January, City Power recorded over 200 cases of cable theft and vandalism. This weekend alone, we had 14 such incidents across all service delivery centres, with five cases of vandalised streetlights in the same period.

“This is seriously concerning as it impacts City Power’s ability to deliver uninterrupted electricity supply to customers.”

Mangena apologised to residents who had been affected by the impact of these crimes.

“Due to the high incidents of theft and vandalism of transformers and mini substations in the City of Johannesburg, the demand for this equipment is higher than what City Power has available on stock.

“This affects our ability to respond to supply restoration timeously. The city’s electricity utility is calling for increased community participation in safeguarding the network infrastructure.

“While City Power continues to work hard on increasing its security, including collaborating with various stakeholders and deploying the latest technology to help curb the crime, we still need the help of residents to effectively fight the scourge of cable theft and vandalism.”

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