LIVE electrical rods have been placed across a stretch of Sirkhod Road that runs along an open field. The rods act as conductors of electricity for the informal settlements hidden behind the vegetation that has amassed due to negligence. These rods help the people from the informal settlements to steal electricity and they have been placed there illegally. They have been removed on numerous occasions only to be installed again once all the fuss dies down.“We have been here when the municipality removed these rods, only to find that in a day or two that nothing has really changed and that the rods are back,” said Rikesh Ishwarlall.Many of the residents around the informal settlements have complained that the presence of the settlements has downgraded the value of their property and they have complained about the high rates they are forced to pay when electricity is being stolen right in front of them.Local pensioner and resident Neela Anthony said her lights and rates are paid for by her son, which adds stress to his life, whereas the people from the informal camps are allowed to live rent free and do not pay rates or for electricity and wa-ter. “It is not fair, we pay for everything we use and for others to get those things free of charge all the while doing so illegally, makes no sense,” said Anthony.Residents have asked for more to be done than the usual futile efforts made by the municipality to remove the illegal metal rods. Residents want to know why no further investigations are done to find out who is doing this and arrest them, or to house the people properly.One resident suggested that when illegal connections are found they must be traced directly to the households that they lead to and these residents must be charged and have the materials used for these illegal connections removed from their possession.“We who are paying our taxes and rates are bearing further costs because of these illegal connections and therefore something must be done,” said Selva Govender.In order to report electricity theft anonymously, you can use one of the following: Primedia Crime Line: SMS 32211 (R1 per SMS) or e-mail your tip-off to www.crimeline.co.za Eskom crime reporting line: 0800 11 27 22 (toll-free).