City Power contractors face legal trouble after tampering with streetlights and soliciting bribes in separate incidents.

Two City Power contractors found themselves on the wrong side of the law after one was arrested for tampering with streetlights and another was nabbed for attempting to solicit a bribe.

According to Johannesburg’s power utility, one subcontractor was arrested for tampering in Eldorado Park and another for soliciting a bribe in exchange for facilitating an illegal connection in Mayibuye this weekend.

Subcontractor threatens employee

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said on Friday, officials responded to a call from an employee who was allegedly threatened by a subcontractor in Eldorado Park for illegally operating on faulty streetlights in the Lenasia area.

“Upon arriving at the scene, operators found the streetlights functioning, and the subcontractor confessed to tampering with the electricity infrastructure. This prompted the operators to try and conduct a metre audit at the suspect’s property. However, they were denied entry and faced threats to their safety,” Mangena said.

The subcontractor was subsequently arrested and charged with tampering with essential infrastructure at the Eldorado Park Police Station.

R800 bribe to connect illegally

Meanwhile, after apparently asking for an R800 bribe, a contractor in Rabie Ridge was allegedly caught connecting a customer illegally on Saturday. He was detained at the Rabie Ridge Police Station.

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Mangena said this specific incident was concerning since, shortly after the installation of metres in the area was finished, the trend of illicit connections in Mayibuye started to surface.

“City Power has strongly condemned the actions of these unscrupulous contractors. In our efforts to combat theft, vandalism, illegal connections, and tempering, we have taken a firm stance by going after all the enablers within the entity,” he said.

Internal investigation

In December last year, City Power initiated an internal investigation to find any internal connections to what appeared to be an organised criminal syndicate targeting City Power infrastructure.

City Power also increased its security resources as part of that plan, putting a special focus on intelligence and the use of technology to quickly identify misconduct and take appropriate action.

“We strongly warn our employees against engaging in any form of illegal activity and urge customers to refrain from attempting to give our technicians and contractors any form of gratuity or bribe in exchange for illegal connections,” Mangena said.

“Should a customer be found to have committed an act of bribery, he or she may be arrested, their power disconnected, and a stiff fine imposed.”

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