Msunduzi welcomes reports of power theft Unabated electricity theft

2014-04-28 00:00

SUE Balraj of the law firm Surendra Singh and Associates writes about electricity theft continuing with impunity and the long-standing problem of phones not being answered by the municipality.

She says: “I write to express my shock at the state of affairs with Msunduzi Municipality. On Friday, April 25 at approximately 6.20 am my house lights at 519 Bombay Road began flickering violently for approximately two minutes. Eventually the power went out completely. On inspection I discovered the electricity cables on the light pole outside the house were on fire. The flames were bright for about five minutes and thereafter kept going on and off.

I looked at The Witness and found the call centre number: 0800 001 868 as well as the after hours electricity number and tried phoning both numbers desperately for nearly 20 minutes. I had no joy. I phoned the Fire Department as I was afraid that the fire on the light pole could spread to the house and set the house alight. To my amazement the Fire Department call was answered by one Robert Nldovu who pointed out firstly,

• The above numbers used were non-existent;

• Secondly the number I should call is

033 392 2955;

• Thirdly that they could not help unless and until the house was on fire.

Needless to say the number given by Robert Ndlovu was never answered until 7.35 am.

What worries me:

• How can the municipality allow the printing of phone numbers in The Witness which are non-existent;

• The Fire Department being an arm of the municipality should at least be more pro-active in the matter than simply saying that one should call them if the house is on fire.

Some answers from the municipality would be appreciated.

By the way, live electricity still runs from the pole to the house and this matter was reported to municipality almost two years ago.

A certain Mr Bhundoo called at the house, did his tests and confirmed the existence of live electricity. Despite this, nothing has been done to resolve the problem. One can only be amazed at the municipality incapacity to do anything properly.”


At a block of flats in Belfort and Ganges road the municipality installed prepaid electricity meters. These prepaid electricity meters were rigged by the tenants to steal electricity. The municipality removed the prepaid meters and many of these tenants attached electricity cables to the streetlight pole and were able to steal electricity. This matter was reported to the municipality. Despite this nothing has been done. In fact two reports were made to the municipality. What is one supposed to do?

Informal settlement behind C21 School

Every day in the afternoon, the residents from this settlement attach a long cable to the street light pole and thereby light up their homes in the evening. The cable runs through the school ground posing a serious risk to the schoolchildren. Can this informal settlement be investigated at night for electricity theft?

• Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Madeleine Jackson-Plaatjies responds: The number that was published and also quoted in the complaint is correct. The reason the complainant was unable to get through to the call centre number is that our network and telephony services were affected by intermittent power outages in the CBD during this period until about 10.30 am the next morning when both network and telephony services were restored.

The response from the fire department as relayed will be forwarded to the fire chief to investigate and attend to accordingly.

On the issue of the live electricity still running to the house, this will be reported to the acting deputy municipal manager: Infrastructure Services for his further investigation and relevant action.

On the matter raised regarding the block of flats in Belfort, Mr Singh’s law firm is aware that the matter is currently before court and is therefore sub judice and we cannot comment on that.

Regarding theft of electricity at the informal settlement, the municipality, as you know, has established a special task team to deal with the issue of illegal/ electricity theft. In instances where residents report suspected electricity theft, this will be investigated through that process. The municipality encourages other residents to report suspected electricity theft in the same way as Ms Balraj has done in this case. Plan to sort out city centre parking mess

Following Witness Warrior’s airing of complaints about motorists parking on the city centre pavements, Christine Barkhuizen has added her comments.

She said: “Further to that, I want to know from our municipality why they allow motorists to park in “no parking” areas, for example narrow side streets like Levy and Princess streets and many more.

“Another question is why motorists who park in 30- and 60-minute areas are not fined. Since motorists have to pay for parking in the city centre, people who work there have moved to parking all day in Hoosen Haffejee and Boom streets.”

Msunduzi’s Nqobile Madonda replied: “Council does not allow motorists to park in ‘no parking’ [zones] or violate any traffic laws; if anything such transgressions get fines from traffic wardens when conducting their patrols.

“There have been more traffic wardens around the city centre, visibly patrolling streets, especially in Langalibalele, Church and Pietermaritz streets. With resources permitting we would like to have visible traffic management in all the streets in town. There are parking management strategies that are in the process of being developed and residents will soon see more changes and firmer enforcement of behaviour for the motorists that fail to comply with the road traffic regulations and the city’s parking by-laws in the near future. Residents are encouraged to report any violations at the Emergency Call Centre on 033 392 3754 / 2854 as soon as they notice them.

Light up for the aged

S. Keshav must be commended for his concern for the aged. He wrote about the lights being out in Davis Lane for the past five months. “Many old people use this lane from the nearby old age homes and without the lights at night it is dangerous,” he said. Keshav said he called the municipality countless times but to no avail.

He was give the Ref No: 134197 and calls were made on the 8/12/13, 30/01/14, 3/3/14 and 13/3/14.

Msunduzi’s Nqobile Madonda responded that the streetlights will be attended to shortly.

Witness Warriors will keep watch on the situation.

Lights that stay on

Witness Warriors received a number of complaints about street lights in the city centre being left on during the day.

The municipality replied: The main reason for streetlights burning during the day is because there is usually a cable fault in that line, hence whilst the electricity department is locating the fault and conducting tests, the streetlights would need to be on as is currently the case with Alan Paton / Chief Albert Luthuli streetlights. Any other areas where the streetlights are on 24/7 should be reported to the call centre on 0800 001 868.

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