REPORT ILLEGAL ELECTRICITY THEFT
By: Nhlanhla Mthembu
Eskom’s national electricity safety campaign warned communities about dangers of illegal connection in the area at Hightflats in iXopo, on Thursday.
Eskom’s aim in hosting the National Safety Week is to educate communities about the basics of safe electricity usage and the risks of electricity theft, including meter tampering,
bypassing and illegal connections.
According to Phumla Siswana, senior advisor in occupational hygiene and safety at Eskom-Kwazulu-Natal, lives are lost yearly as a result of illegal connections and unsafe use of
electricity in the area.
“Injuries and fatalities are contact with low-hanging electrodes, unsafe connections vandalism, illegal power connections and cable theft, mostly children under 10 years and
people above 45 years are in danger and affected,” said Siswana.
According to local council, Highflats only consists of at least 1000 people but there is a high rate of illegal connection made in the area. Residents said that they have sent numerous
requests to the municipality and have waited for far too long for the electricity project to start.
“We decided to illegally connect electricity because we have waited for so long for municipal to respond to our request. With help from people who some are in municipality, we are able
to have electricity,” said a resident whose name was withheld for his safety.
Local councillor, Nicolas Mdunge said that people are not allowed to reside in this particular Highflats area, people live illegally and that is why they have many concerns that are slowly
being attended to.
“Municipal is aware about the situation in the area. We have recently negotiated 500 units (in the) area that will be able to accommodate them. Meanwhile we appeal to people to report
and stop illegal connection before there is another fatality,” said Cllr Mdunge.
Eskom encouraged the public to report illegal electricity connections to 08600 37566 or 0800 112 722 or report electricity theft to Operation Khanyisa by sending an SMS to Crime Line