Illegal connections: About 700 Soweto homes in the dark after Eskom disconnects its power

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Soweto residents protest for electricity.
Soweto residents protest for electricity.
Canny Maphanga
  • Eskom has disconnected its power supply to about 700 homes in Diepkloof Zone 3 in Soweto.
  • Residents have been accused of stealing electricity and buying power from ghost vendors.
  • Eskom wants each house to pay R6 052 before it will restore power. 

About 700 houses in Diepkloof Zone 3, Soweto, are in the dark after Eskom disconnected its power supply to the area.

Eskom accused residents of illegally connecting electricity to their homes and disconnected them last week.

Eskom Gauteng spokesperson Amanda Qithi said they disconnected power in the township due to high energy losses caused by illegal connections, meter bypassing and the buying of electricity from ghost vendors.

Qithi said reconnection fees of R6 052 per household had to be paid before supply could be restored to homes.

This course of action by Eskom had left many residents fuming and they vented their anger by barricading roads, including the Soweto Highway.

Qithi said seven mini-substations supplied the 700 affected houses.

READ | Soweto residents propose a R150 monthly fee to pay off Eskom debt

"Ever since we have converted the area into prepaid, they are not buying electricity. We then gave them fines of R6 052 per household. Illegal connections are rife, which is why they don't buy electricity because they are illegally connected.

"Eskom conducts network audits in all its areas of supply, not only in Soweto. When criminal activities are identified, the same process of disconnections will be followed," Qithi said.

Qithi said removing illegal connections to secure the network, repairing damaged infrastructure, and issuing of disconnection fees to be paid before the supply was restored, would be implemented in identified areas. 

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