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Crime & Accidents News
07 September 2021

Rustenburg – The Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) has cited theft and vandalism of their infrastructure as the root cause of the latest round of power cuts. 
On 27 August, many parts of Rustenburg were left without electricity after criminals vandalised a mini substation, stealing the transformer oil. This new trend of stealing transformer oil negatively affects every business and household in Rustenburg. It is done by criminals who want to make a quick buck, not at all bothered by the effect they have on our local economy, or the inconvenience they cause.
“I did not have electricity for two days. I could not shower or cook food. This inconvenience also caused me to arrive at work late,” said a concerned resident of Witstinkhout Avenue.
What can be done do to stop these low-life criminals from vandalising our power grid? The municipality might consider fitting cameras, erecting palisade fencing to prevent criminals from being able to damage the transformers or by offering reward money for information about the criminals. 
The Criminal Matters Amendment Act regulates bail and impose minimum offences for essential infrastructure-related offences. The minimum sentence for first-time offenders is three years. It would help if an arrest can be made and an example can be set by the courts. The theft and vandalism of transformers and other electrical infrastructure, which has been reported by the municipality for several weeks now, is an astronomical expense for them.  RLM spokesperson Thapelo Matebesi said only two transformers can be repaired per day. “It also takes manufacturers eight days to manufacture transformer oil,” he added.

Transformer oil draining from a vandalised mini-substation’s transformer.  
Tool used to punch a hole in the transformer. 

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