End to hot-wiring in sight

2012-10-01 00:00

ILLEGAL electricity connections could soon be a thing of the past if Msunduzi Municipality’s plan to electrify all informal settlements goes according to plan.

The municipality is losing R90 million a year on illegal electricity connections by informal settlement residents, according to the Auditor-General’s report for the 2011/12 financial year.

This has led to the approval of plans by the city to electrify informal settlements, a decision taken by Exco last week.

Manager Mxolisi Nkosi told Exco that the plan, once implemented, would save taxpayers money.

“We are still in the planning stages and the roll-out to the entire city should begin in March. However, we have already secured R3 million to start electrifying the Copesville informal settlement before we roll out to other areas.”

He said research by the municipality on the cost of the project indicated that to install prepaid electricity meters in all informal settlements would cost R38,2 million. An application has been forwarded to the Department of Energy to fund the project, and the municipality is awaiting a response.

Exco member Eunice Majola asked how the municipality planned to prevent further mushrooming of informal settlements once the existing ones had been electrified.

Nkosi said local ward councillors would have to assist in ensuring that once the areas had been electrified, there would be no further expansion.

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert asked what the chances were for the municipality to get funding from the Energy Department.

“We would not like to fish in a pond where there is no fish,” said Lambert.

Nkosi said they do not have to wait for approval of the application for funds as the municipality can always claim from the department once the work has been done.

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