Because they broke through the perimeter fence of the Retief Street Primary Substation, two men from Pietermaritzburg were given a sentence of eighteen months in prison. Both Xolani Mbeje and Mzwandile Mnyaka were given a sentence of one year and eighteen months in prison after being found guilty of causing damage to municipal infrastructure. Mbeje and Mnyaka were apprehended after a Safe City operator spotted them breaking through the outer fence of the substation, as stated by Lucas Holtzhausen, who works for Msunduzi's Safe City.
According to him, the occurrence took place on February 18 sometime before 1 am. According to Holtzhausen, the officers from the Pietermaritzburg police station were alerted and sent to the substation, where they detained the two males who were present at the time of the incident.
The objective is to install electrical cables.
According to him, the two stated that they had the intention of stealing electricity cables. Holtzhausen expressed his satisfaction with the sentencing and stated that in the past, Msunduzi Municipality suffered from regular power outages since major substations were frequently broken into for the purpose of stealing copper and other essential electrical equipment.
"These blackouts had a crippling effect on the business and manufacturing sectors, particularly in the Mkondeni and Willowton Road districts," he said. "[T]hese areas were particularly hard hit."
"A number of companies disclosed that they planned to close their doors in the event that the local government did not take the necessary measures to reduce the frequency and severity of these power outages." According to Holtzhausen, during the 2016–2017 fiscal year, a total of R6.5 million was allotted to Safe City, and 98 CCTV cameras were installed at eight key electrical substations in order to better monitor the areas.
He stated that a specialized surveillance desk had been designated to oversee the monitoring of these substations throughout the clock. "Since the installation of the CCTV cameras at these key substations," noted Holtzhausen, "there has not been a single power interruption that was caused by theft or vandalism."
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