Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pylon Collapses Plunge Pretoria into Darkness

FILE : A man walks beneath electricity pylons during frequent power outages from South African utility Eskom, caused by its ageing coal-fired plants, in Orlando, Soweto, South Africa, January 16, 2023.

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

The City of Tshwane, which oversees the Pretoria metropolitan area, said the pylons collapsed Sunday night onto the N4 highway and many areas of north and east Pretoria are without electricity, adding the cause of the pylon collapses is not yet clear.

Tshwane mayor said there might have been attempts to steal parts of the metal structures at the base of the pylons. "There is a very strong possibility that this is because of criminal vandalism," Cilliers Brink said.

There had previously been attempts to steal sections of metal from the base of the pylons, Brink added.

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.

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.