Illegal power cables removed after residents call city

2015-08-12 09:55
Police keep watch as municipal workers clear metres of electrical cables that were running from the Manor Flats transformer box to the nearby informal settlement.

Police keep watch as municipal workers clear metres of electrical cables that were running from the Manor Flats transformer box to the nearby informal settlement. (Ian Carbutt)

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MSUNDUZI municipal security and ­Pietermaritzburg police swooped down on an open field crisscrossed with illegal electricity cables near the Waterbok Flats in Manor yesterday.

Hundreds of metres of illegal cables in the long grass were removed by municipal security under the watchful eye of the police.

Treasurer of the Willow Gardens Residents Association Derrick Biggar said he had called Msunduzi Municipality numerous times to report the “highly dangerous” illegal cables running through the field next to their flats.

The cables run from the transformer box of the Waterbok Flats to the nearby Jika Joe informal settlement.

“We are fed up with these illegal connections that are not only dangerous but since it is connected to our transformer box, I am sure that is the reason behind our high electricity bills. We are probably paying for others to have free electricity,” said Biggar.

However, he said although municipal security come to remove the illegal connections, the problem is not sorted out as people “will connect them again as soon as security leave”.

Biggar said the illegal connections have “infested” the ground next to the flats and have resulted in more than 29 electrocutions in the last two years.

Biggar’s grandson was electrocuted two years ago and is one of the few survivors. “My grandson was electrocuted when his soccer ball rolled near the cables. He didn’t see the cables and when he ran to pick up the ball, he was tangled in the cables and electrocuted.”

Biggar said his grandson was hospitalised for three months and now has lifelong scars to live with.

“The illegal cables are really very dangerous. This field once used to be our soccer field and we would even have braais here. Now it is like a minefield,” said another member of the Willow Gardens Residents Association, Gonaseelan Perumal.

Msunduzi acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the municipality is standing strong in their fight against illegal connections.

“We will continue to remove all illegal connections. The illegal connections are taking away from the revenue that could be used for service delivery. As the mayor said in his state-of-the-city address, we are urging all residents to pay for what they use,” said Madonda.

Perumal said the only way the municipality will succeed in ridding the area of illegal connections is to go into the informal settlements and remove them directly

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