Illegal connections targeted

2016-02-25 06:00
A municipality employee removes cables used for the illegal connection of electricity. Photo: darshan rangai

A municipality employee removes cables used for the illegal connection of electricity. Photo: darshan rangai

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A JOINT operation was held by SAPS, Eskom and eThekwini Municipality to remove illegal electricity connections in Emona, Tongaat at the weekend due to the loss of several lives through electrocution.

Tongaat SAPS communications officer Manisha Mahraj-Marie said the area was targeted as they have had dozens of cases of death through electrocution in the area with children, teenagers and adults all falling victim in the area.

“We have cases of people illegally connecting electricity and running the cable along fields and on bushes over rivers,” said Maharaj-Marie.

“Because of these connections people in the river have been electrocuted and livestock has been lost. People, whether young or old, are losing their lives because of these dangers.”

Another issue the joint effort was trying to address is the danger of exposing the surrounding community to criminal activity as a result of the area being left in darkness due to loss of power as a result of illegal connections.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said thousands of illegally connected electricity wires were removed. “The area was identified as one of the city’s illegal connection hotspots and was enclosed by a web of live wires that hung dangerously over wire fencing, trees, houses, washing lines and in pathways,” said Mthethwa.

A senior technician from the Revenue Protection Unit in the Northern and Northwestern region said he suspected that a syndicate was operating in the area which SAPS and the city forensic team will be investigating.

“The municipality has continuously warned residents against cable and electricity theft as it often results in devastating and tragic consequences such as loss of life as well as damage to infrastructure which costs the Municipality approximately R230 million annually,” said Mthethwa.

“Several initiatives including modifications to the infrastructure have been taken to minimise the impact of illegal connections.”

Mthethwa said eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo has invited the public to share their ideas with the city on any advanced cable theft prevention methods that will help win the fight against electricity and cable theft.

Residents have been urged to report suspicion of cable theft and electricity to the Electricity Department call centre on: 080 13 13 111, SMS: 083 700 0819 or email, contact the Cable Theft Hotline on 031 311 9611, SAPS on 10111 or the Metro Police Emergency Line on 031 361 0000.

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