*** Please note: 1pm embargo
City of Johannesburg officials who were threatened last week and had to abandon an operation of disconnecting power to hijacked buildings in the inner city, have regrouped and are set to go back to complete the task on Wednesday afternoon.
The Joburg City Power officials and a small contingent of police officers were met with threats last week as they targeted four buildings in the Joburg CBD which had been hijacked and had last paid for electricity almost six years ago.
Joburg councillor Jack Sekwaila, the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services (EISD) and councillor Mgcini Tswaku, the MMC for Public Safety, are expected to lead the Revenue Protection team to disconnect electricity to multiple hijacked buildings in Johannesburg's inner city.
A stronger contingent of police officers from the Joburg Metro Police (JMPD) and the SA Police Service are expected to flank the officials for safety reasons.
“The SAPS conducted a risk assessment and concluded that the operation should be postponed to a later date because there were not enough personnel to address tensions in the area.
“The buildings are believed to be occupied by suspected illegal and extremely violent occupants.
“City Power is increasing its efforts to collect revenue, and this has led to a crackdown on those who hijack buildings,” the councillors said.
They said those who used illegal electricity connections were putting pressure on the electricity network and were hindering revenue recovery efforts.
“Illegal electricity connections are considered theft and will be dealt with accordingly. The operation will be supported by law enforcement agencies including JMPD,” they said.
The four hijacked buildings targeted last week in the inner city, owed the city at least R20 million and they had last paid their bills in 2017.
Earlier on Wednesday, during a disconnection drive in Midrand, several businesses who owed millions were targeted and disconnected.
The City of Johannesburg is owed R10 billion in unpaid electricity bills by Joburg residents and businesses.