Illegal electricity connections claim another life in PMB

2014-05-06 00:00

WITHIN a week of Msunduzi announcing plans to electrify the Swapo informal settlement, a person has died there as a result of illegal connections.

In the latest of a spate of electrocutions in Pietermaritzburg, Mzwandile Qondani (22) was found dead in a stream next to the road in the early hours of Friday.

His aunt, Nolist Qondeni, told The Witness they last saw him leaving home to visit friends the day before. “We noticed he was missing after his younger brother came asking for him. When we phoned him on his cellphone, the phone was off and we started to panic as no one knew where he was.”

Msunduzi mayor Chris Ndlela recently announced that the municipality had already started electrifying the Ezinketheni informal settlement in Copesville, and was now rolling the plan out to other settlements.

About R7 million was made available to electrify the houses of 2 000 residents living in the informal settlements, and the project was expected to be completed by December.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said an inquest docket is being investigated by Mountain Rise police.

Other recent deaths due to illegal connections reported on in The Witness include:

• July 2013 at Jika Joe: Aviwe Vava (six), slipped and was electrocuted as she grabbed a live wire in an attempt to break her fall.

• September 2013 at Jika Joe: Moshe Motoung (36) was electrocuted.

• September 2013 at Regina Road, Northdale: Lucky Mzila was found lying dead in a ditch on top of a number of illegal electrical cables that snaked their way to a nearby informal settlement.

• March 2014 at Copesville: a 37-year-old man was electrocuted and died near the Copesville police station. The man was unidentified.

30 suspects held for electricity theft

MSUNDUZI Municipality’s task team to deal with electricity theft has nabbed 30 suspects, including eight of their own employees.

The municipality was losing more than R120 million per annum as a result of unscrupulous power rogues. Mayor Chris Ndlela said yesterday that since December 23 last year, 15 criminal cases had been opened at the Pietermaritzburg, Mountain Rise and Alexandra Road police stations.

“We have already dealt with five of the employees internally and will continue to deal with the remainder,” he said

Ndlela added that while they have taken a strong stance on electricity theft, work on the electrification of all informal settlements was continuing. He said they had already started with Nhlalakahle, Ezinketheni and Swapo.

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