Hefty fines for damaging Nelson Mandela Bay underground electricity cables

OCTOBER 28, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality strengthened its arm with a stringent council resolution that will ensure that contractors feel the squeeze in their pockets when damaging underground electricity cables henceforth.

Despite being provided with service drawings to indicate the location of the underground cables, over the years, contractors exercised minimal care when digging up verges resulting in extensive harm by damaging numerous cables.

A report tabled by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Athol Trollip states that the Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy Directorate tried various methods over the years to curb this.

“The contractors just do not seem to want to understand the consequences of their actions as they just state that it is less expensive for them to use their digging machinery and claim from their insurance for cable damage than to get their workers to dig with their hands around the cables first,” according to the report.

After a legal opinion was obtained and a peer review process concluded, an incremental fee – depending on the voltage of the cables - will now be charge plus the total repair cost of the cable.

Council therefore approved the following charges, today:

  1. Any low voltage cable – R 1000 plus the total repair cost
  2. 6 600 Volt Cables – R5 000 plus the total repair cost
  3. 11 000 Volt Cables – R10 000 plus the total repair cost
  4. 22 000 Volt Cables – R30 000 plus the total repair cost
  5. 132 000 Volt Cables – R120 000 plus the total repair cost

In addition to the financial penalties, Council approved a recommendation that the right to institute further steps against contractors should be reserved in cases where the excavation occurred without authorization.