City officials cut illegal power connections
City Power officials swooped on Ferndale, Randburg, in Region B on Friday night in a massive operation to rid the area of illegal electricity connections.
The raid was backed by the South African Police Service (SAPS), Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, national electricity utility Eskom and the City’s Environmental Health Department.
According to Thuli Ngobese, Spokesperson for Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM) in Region B, the aim of the operation was to rid the system of freeloaders. She said illegal connections caused unplanned outages and posed a danger to residents.
“Illegal connections are a danger to society. Children die from stepping on or touching exposed wires that carry high volumes of electricity,” Ngobese said.
Members of the SAPS and JMPD kept watch as Eskom and City Power technicians moved from one property to another in the middle of the night and removed illegal connections.
One of the properties that were raided was inhabited by 12 families, who claimed they were not aware the power they used had been illegally procured. They said they thought the bill for their electricity consumption was covered in the monthly rent they paid the property owner.
Zimbabwean Kaith Mashiri said he had been renting a room in the area for over two years. When told that he had been using electricity without paying for it, he said he had tried unsuccessfully to plead with the landlord to approach the authorities about the matter. He was distraught when officials cut the illegal connections to his room.
By dawn on Saturday, two truckloads of insulated wires and other material used for illegal connections had been removed from the area.
Ngobese urged residents to assist City Power in its fight against illegal connections by calling the anonymous tip-off hotline number 0800 002 587. She said the information would be treated in the strictest confidence.