Illegal electricity connections are costing South Africa around R20 billion per year. File photo: Zanele Zulu

Johannesburg - Illegal power connections are costing the City of Ekurhuleni R800 million a year in unaccounted-for electricity.

City mayor Mzwandile Masina issued a stern warning to the residents of the Marikana informal settlement near KwaThema over the weekend.

“Stop illegal connections because this is endangering innocent lives,” he said.

“These illegal connections are a threat to innocent people while, at the same time, they overload the system and result in many unplanned power outages. In some instances, they result in massive electricity infrastructure damage and thus derail our electricity roll-out programme.”

Masina said the Winnie Mandela settlement was in the process of being electrified.

The city plans to electrify all informal settlements in the next five years.

He appealed to the community to work with the municipality to thwart electricity theft. “Imagine how much we can achieve with R800m,” he said.

He also instructed metro officials to be vigilant in identifying illegal electricity connections.

Every Friday, called Siyaqhuba Fridays, or Service Delivery Fridays, the mayor, along with his mayoral committee and Ekurhuleni’s administration, plan to visit communities for a service-delivery outreach campaign to respond to service-delivery complaints on the spot.

Masina has identified various areas that needed urgent service-delivery attention such as speedily resolving the human settlement challenges in Tsakane Extension 10.

“The city is in the process of rolling out more than 100 000 houses in the next five years; this is our way of giving back the sense of dignity to our people,” he said.

Masina also visited child-headed households in Langaville to intervene by providing urgent assistance with basic necessities for the families.

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The Star