Sophisticated power thieves

2013-10-02 00:00

COPESVILLE residents are faced with the new challenge of smarter electricity thieves who dig trenches like “municipal employees” during the middle of the night to bury illegally connected cables.

This has residents up in arms, as they say the continued theft of electricity in the area puts their lives in danger.

Not only are they angered by the theft that often leaves them in the dark, but they say the uncovered connections are unsafe and pose the risk of electrocution.

The electricity lines are illegally connected to electricity boxes outside their homes and run along the ground to the informal settlement across the road.

A resident, who declined to be named, phoned The Witness this past weekend, saying that people were digging trenches in front of her home to use to lay the wires of illegal electricity connections.

The Witness visited the area and found at least five different electricity connections running from the houses across the road.

Residents at Amethyst Crescent could not leave for work because their driveway had been dug up yesterday.

“The people in the informal settlement started digging the trenches this past weekend. The trenches run through from the electricity box to the settlement.”

Just in the main road alone, there are at least five different connections running across the road, from the homes across to the informal settlement. Although the electricity cables are clearly visible, the road has been slightly dug up to accommodate the cables. One runs from an electricity box in front of one home past other homes. Another is uncovered and seems to be connected to the streetlight.

Residents who declined to be named said over the past few weeks the situation has deteriorated. Previously, a municipal security guard was deployed to the area, but he has since been removed and the electricity thieves now are doing as they please.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela said he had personally gone to the area to see the illegal connections for himself.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi expressed anger at the criminal act directed against Copesville ratepayers. “This is totally unacceptable.”

He said he would also visit the area and would put together a team of security guards and other relevant law enforcement agencies to deal with this problem.

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