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Damaged electricty pylons in Pretoria add to power woes for residents

Workers from the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality clear debris and shrubs around a collapsed pylon in Pretoria on April 12, 2023   -  
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South Africa

Downed electric pylons in Pretoria, now being repaired, are adding to the ongoing power woes for residents. 

At least seven large electricity pylons collapsed onto a highway near the South African capital of Pretoria, causing a multiple-vehicle crash, city authorities and emergency services said Monday.

“It is affecting us in a very bad way,” said one local student, Zinhle Nkosi, adding that “some of us are studying online, and then you know, when there's no electricity, there's no network.” 

South Africa has been battered by record blackouts over the past year, triggered by mounting problems at the beleaguered power utility Eskom.

Two people were “moderately” injured in the car crash, treated at the scene and taken to the hospital, the private Promed paramedic service said.

The pylon collapses had caused high-voltage cables to "hang extremely low over the highway," causing vehicles to swerve to avoid them and resulting in the crash, Promed said.

The City of Tshwane, which oversees the Pretoria metropolitan area, said the pylons collapsed Sunday night.

The reason for their collapse was unclear but Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink said there is a “very strong possibility that this is because of criminal vandalism."

There had previously been attempts to steal sections of metal from the base of the pylons, Brink said, and the pylons had to be repaired.

Many areas in north and east Pretoria had lost their electricity supply. Repair crews were battling rainy weather and there was no estimate yet for how long those areas would be without power, the city said.

Part of the N4 highway, which is the main route into Pretoria from the east, was closed.

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