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Cops drive by as thieves dig up cables

The 10 men seen digging up electricity cables in Denver, Johannesburg, on Tuesday morning did not stop when a convoy of metro police arrived nearby with a busload of city officials.

It seems even the metro cops patrolling the area did not spot them.

The men were armed with picks, hammers and other equipment to dig the trench to get to the cables.

They were about 500 metres away from the transitional relocation area of one-room zinc dwellings where close to 200 survivors of the Marshalltown fire on 31 August were housed.

The area — now known as Shalazile after the induna in the area — is close to where two men were badly injured last month when a substation exploded while they were allegedly tampering with its equipment.

One of the two men is reportedly still in hospital recovering from the injuries he sustained in the blast.

A resident from Shalazile, who wished to remain anonymous, told Scrolla.Africa that metro police were seen patrolling on Tuesday when the cable thieves were spotted. But the police did not seem to see the men — or if they did, they ignored them.

“The level of criminality in this area is just unbearable. This makes me so angry,” said the resident.

Last week, a group of law enforcement agencies and other government employees from different city departments embarked on an anti-crime campaign in Shalazile.

Fisokwakhle Myaka, treasurer of Cleveland Youth Crime Prevention, said Shalazile is a crime hotspot.

“Most cases reported at the Cleveland police station come from this area,” he said. The cases include rape, robberies and drug offences.

Security patrols for Shalazile came to an end in January when the company’s contract ran out.

Earlier on Tuesday, a convoy of about six metro police cars escorted senior officials from the city to Shalazile. Residents said the officials spent about 20 minutes there before driving off.

While the city officials were visiting the area, the men kept on digging for cables.

Pictured above: Metro police escorted a bus carrying officials from the City of Johannesburg who visited the Shalazile informal settlement in Denver on Tuesday.

Image source: Supplied