Electricity theft a norm in some parts of the township

Cables lie on the surface of this road in eMzinoni.

Illegal electricity connections are rife in the townships, especially in eMbalenhle and eMzinoni.

This practice has become a way of life for those who say they cannot afford the high electricity tariffs and those who are not happy with the municipality giving out incomplete RDP houses.

Electricity theft is not a secret among many of the residents.

Despite various warnings by Govan Mbeki Municipality about the danger that electricity theft imposes and how much it financially bankrupts the municipality, it looks as though those who are stealing electricity do not care.

“The municipality’s electricity bills are too high and we cannot afford it and they must stop putting us in incomplete RDP houses.

“They must ensure that electricity is installed at the RDP houses before they give people these houses.

“If they want to reduce the number of illegal connections, they must take responsibility,” said a resident from Extension 22 in eMbalenhle.

Some residents said this practice will continue, because the municipality is apparently not taking strong actions against those who are involved in illegal electricity connections.

“They know about this and they are doing nothing.

“Ward councillors pass here and we have never seen any action taken against those who steal, I then thought I should join the club.”

Govan Mbeki Municipality is concerned over the safety of communities that may be at risk due to illegal connections‚ meter bypassing or tampering with electricity infrastructures.

Many power outages in different parts of the communities are caused by overloading, the result of illegal connections and non-payment.

“The power frequently goes out at about the same time on cold winter nights.

“The network overloads because too many people are trying to use a network that was designed for one household per stand.

“Residents who are not paying for their electricity, tend to be wasteful.

“Not only are illegal connections dangerous‚ but they can cause transformers to explode and it may take hours or days to repair them.

“Innocent lives are lost as a consequence of illegal connections,” said Mr Bheki Kubheka, head of communications and marketing of Govan Mbeki Municipality.


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Sifiso Mathebula

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