South Africa: Rampant infrastructure theft jeopardises public services

By Xolisa Phillip, in Johannesburg
Posted on Tuesday, 20 September 2022 16:13

A man walks below Eskom's electricity pylons in Soweto, South Africa, March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Already facing an array of setbacks, South Africa’s key public services have been suffering systematic infrastructure thefts spurred by surging metal and fuel prices, which have caused recurring disruptions and hefty financial losses.

While Eskom is committed to publicly release schedules for load-shedding cuts, criminal elements use the information to embark on looting sprees targeting the state electricity company’s facilities, says CEO Andre de Ruyter.

“On load-shedding and criminality, we are [stuck] between a rock and a hard place when it comes to announcing the load-shedding schedules,” De Ruyter told The Africa Report in a recent meeting of the Economic Sabotage of Critical Infrastructure Forum, held at Megawatt Park, Eskom’s headquarters.