Tons of cable used in illegal power connections removed from Jika Joe

2013-07-04 00:00

THIRTY tons of stolen cable were removed from the Jika Joe informal settlement as the city’s war against illegal electricity connections continued yesterday.

This was less than a month after a similar amount was removed from the settlement in mid-June.

Contractors and senior Msunduzi electricity staff worked in the area from 9 am until after lunch, before moving on to remove illegal connections in Copesville and other areas.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said this was a war on electricity theft in the city sanctioned by the council. He said there would be daily removals of illegal connections, if need be.

Zuma said the council could no longer sustain the loss of revenue through electricity theft, nor the constant disruption of power to paying customers.

Executive committee member Manilall Inderjith said that this year, for the first time in 18 years, the municipality was losing money on electricity. “Previously we always made a profit,” he said.

Aside from the raids on illegal connections, there will be a tightening up of enforcement of municipal systems, Zuma said. This will include monitoring all material leaving and being returned to the electricity department by staff and contractors.

An official, who would not be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the city wanted to know how thieves got hold of the vast amounts of cable used to make the illegal connections.

The Witness reported last week that R200 000 worth of copper cables were stolen from the municipal stores, days before CCTV cameras were to be installed.

Electricity officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they felt trapped in a no-win situation of threats and constant abuse. When they went to remove illegal connections, their lives were threatened. The theft of electricity led to an overloaded grid, resulting in power outages. Then they faced abuse from the paying public for the disruptions and for power not being restored fast enough.

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