Municipality curbs illegal electricity connections

2019-02-27 06:01

IN an endeavour to enhance service delivery in the metro, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has implemented an innovative electrification programme to supply households with electricity.

The programme has first been rolled out to the Missionvale area, with 850 households set to be electrified by the end of February.

According to Mayoral Committee Member of Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy, Andile Lungisa, informal urban settlements are the fastest growing household sector in South Africa.

“With their growth, the metro has seen a rise in illegal electricity connections, which have not only been costly, but deadly as well,” Lungisa commented.

Municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, said that the municipality was trying to find ways to accommodate all residents in relation to service delivery and to curb illegal electricity connections.

“Some residents are still staying in shacks while waiting for houses. We have implemented this programme to avoid the illegal electricity connections. They will no longer have to connect their electricity illegally. We cannot then let them live without services. We have to find ways to bring services to them,” Mniki said.

The areas currently benefitting from the programme include Missionvale (Rholihlahla) with 850 units, Motherwell (Ramaphosa) with 650 units, KwaZakhele (e-Dongweni) with 300 units and Walmer (G-West) with 760 units.

Mniki added, “So far we have done 250 connections to the shacks. We are also planning on electrifying Ikamvelihle (Motherwell) with 1600 units and Wells estate with 600 units as well.”

The total expenditure so far for the programme is R20.8 million.

Although most of the residents are RDP house applicants and may qualify for the Assistance to the Poor Programme (ATTP), those who do not qualify will have to pay for the electricity and others will have to pay the amount they exceed within the ATTP allocation.

“Unemployed residents who qualify for the ATTP get a certain allocation towards electricity.

“However, once they have exceeded that allocation, they will have to buy their own electricity,” Mniki said.

Beneficiaries who have qualified for this programme are determined by the municipality through a needs analysis.

“A needs analysis will guide us to decide who are in dire need of the programme. We do not just randomly select residents – a process has to be followed,” Mniki added.

In addition, the municipality has also rolled out an amnesty programme, which makes provision for faulty, by-passed and electricity meters which have been tampered with.

According to Mniki, the amnesty programme was launched to encourage residents to be law-abiding citizens and to discourage them from committing a criminal offence of illegally connecting electricity.

“The programme talks to the residents who have illegally connected or tampered with their electricity meters. The municipality called for them to come forward, declare the offence and apply for amnesty. We want people to stop illegal connections as this is also dangerous to them and their children,” Mniki explained.

The amnesty programme will be done free of charge and is set to end on March 15.

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