Numerous cables were confiscated during the disconnection of illegal electrical connections in Khayelihle, Wesselton Ext 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and Enkanini on 3 and 5 July.
Msukaligwa Municipality, working with the police, undertook the operation to curb what has become the norm in Wesselton where residents of informal settlements and surrounding areas are connecting electricity illegally.
The operation came as the municipality’s electricity section is experiencing unplanned incessant electricity outages in Ext 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 in Wesselton.
The major cause of these electricity outages is the illegal electricity connections which cause the network to overload and trip because the demand exceeds the supply, meaning there are more people who use electricity that what the network was designed for.
Eskom has also warned the public against infrastructure and electricity theft which includes illegal electricity connections.
According to Eskom, the fact that electricity theft costs the country approximately R20 billion per year, may not be easy to comprehend for many ordinary citizens and suffering serious injuries due to coming into contact with electricity becomes an immediate threat and reality for many South Africans.
“Our major concern in the case of illegal connections is that danger is posed not only to the people who engage in illegal connections, but also to the rest of their community, particularly children and animals,” Eskom’s divisional executive of Security, Mr Tebogo Rakau, said.
This is indeed a reality as a woman died in November last year when she was electrocuted in Ethembeni, Wesselton.
According to a resident, the woman had no shoes on and was connecting a power line from a nearby connected house when she was electrocuted.
This led to leaders intervening as it is not just cable thieves doing the connections anymore, but ordinary citizens as well.
One leader at the informal settlement condemned the illegal connections, but lamented the fact that his hands are tied because the municipality is allegedly doing nothing to provide for the community in terms of installing electricity.
Eskom is encouraging all community members to report any unsafe and illegal power conditions or connections that they come across by calling 086 003 7566.
These include exposed electrical wiring, low-hanging cables, illegal connections, vandalised electrical equipment such as substations and exposed electrical cables due to theft or vandalism.
The public can also report electricity and infrastructure theft anonymously by sending an SMS to the Crime Line’s SMS line at 32211.
Or alternatively call 0800 11 2722.
The identity of those who report theft incidents remains completely protected at all times.
The municipality also appealed to community members to report any illegal connections to the municipal call centre at 086 116 7852, 079 503 6729 and 079 503 5484.
They urged electricity users to use it sparingly by switching off unused electric appliances.