Illegal power connections plunge paying customers’ homes into darkness
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Cape Town - Several households in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein, have once again been plunged into darkness due to illegal electricity connections rife in the community.
Kraaifontein community leaders say residents living in areas close to identified electricity theft hot spots are bearing the brunt of other people’s actions, as illegal electrical connections have taken a life of their own, with perpetrators boldly setting up their connections in broad daylight and causing major damage to existing electricity infrastructure.
Kraaifontein CPF spokesperson Mike Tafu said: “The situation is seemingly getting worse with time, and the worst part is that innocent people are suffering. Some areas have had to go for days without electricity, even though they are connected legally. Currently, we have several houses without electricity, and more than a few broken street lights.
“Yesterday we had an incident where an electrical pole caught alight, and police were called. Unfortunately, when they got here they were pelted with stones and had to retreat; all the while the perpetrators were connecting their wires.
“These are the situations we are sitting with, and it’s not easy facilitating for either Eskom or the City to come out and restore power or fix broken infrastructure.”
Kraaifontein councillor Simpiwe Nonkeziyama said: “It’s unfortunate that we are still struggling to bring this issue to an end. The solutions being applied to the problem are not sustainable and innocent residents are continuing to suffer. This is an old-age problem that needs to be addressed, or it will keep growing into a volatile mess.”
Mayco Member for Energy and Climate Change Phindile Maxiti said: “There has been an increase in illegal connections since the national Covid-19 lockdown started, due in large part to the large-scale unlawful occupations which we’ve seen across the metro.
“These illegal actions impact service delivery to residents, communities and road users, and help is needed to stop the scourge. Between July 2020 and March 2021, the City spent more than R15.5 million repairing and replacing electricity infrastructure damaged by vandalism, theft and illegal connections across the metro.”
“We are looking into ways we can further protect our infrastructure. We are also engaging residents about these matters. The City continues to remove illegal connections and fix the damage caused by the illegal connections as fast as possible, but we realise that this is not sustainable,” said Maxiti.