East residents ask metro to intervene before they ‘kill each other’

An electricity box recently exploded because of illegal connections. Photo Stephen Selaluke

Nellmapius residents have called on the Tshwane metro to remove illegal electricity connections to prevent violence between them and their squatter neighbours.

Angry residents of Marikana Extension 21 said the metro must intervene before they and neighbouring Solly Msimanga informal settlement dwellers “kill each other”.

They accused the shack dwellers from across the street of stealing electricity from them.

Resident Selina Mojela said before the illegal connections, she’d pay R500 a month for her electricity. However, this had since grown to an unaffordable R1 000.

She said she recently closed her spaza shop down because she could no longer afford the electricity, thinking it was to blame for the dramatic rise in her electricity bill.

“Then on 10 April, I called the metro to come fix the meter box outside my home, which had blown up,” she said.

“I was horrified when the technicians showed me all the illegal connections running from it to the informal settlement.

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The technicians said a circuit breaker blew up when a box was overloaded.

I was completely unaware I was paying for someone else’s electricity, so I was happy when they removed all the wires.

However, a few days later, I saw some Solly Msimanga dwellers at the meter and after they had left, I went out to see what they were doing.

They had simply connected another bunch of wires.”

She said they were so brazen.

“I always assumed that people did these things at midnight while everybody was asleep.”

Mojela said she and her neighbours had reported the illegal connections to the metro again on 25 April, but nobody had come to remove them.

“We are still waiting and every day that passes, the electricity is on us,” said Majela.

Another resident, Michael Mahlase, said the illegal connections would never stop because of corruption.

He said a metro employee who lived in the settlement was selling the cable izinyoka (electricity thieves) used to connect to the grid.

“It’s obvious where he gets it from – he steals from the metro,” said Mahlase.

“He also hires out a ladder which izinyoka use to connect to the overhead power cables.

“There is cable running across the street everywhere.

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One of these days some innocent child will trip on a wire and get electrocuted.”

He said the metro must remove the illegal connections and then solder the boxes shut to prevent more illegal connections.

Mahlase said the residents had reported the problem to their ward councillor Joel Masilela, but he didn’t even acknowledge receipt of their complaints.

The dwellers, who spoke to Rekord on condition of anonymity, said they had connected to the electricity grid illegally out of desperation.

“We know it is illegal, but what can we do?” one of them said.

“I have a fridge, a stove, a TV and other electric appliances, but I can’t use them because I do not have electricity.”

“You see, we have no options. You can’t get us takeaways every day, so we can’t stop making the illegal connections until the metro supplies us with electricity.”

The metro was yet to comment at the time of going to press.

ALSO READ: Boschkop police deny neglecting vehicles

Tshwane metro remove illegal connections.  Photo Stephen Selaluke

Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to [email protected] or phone us on 083 625 4114.

For free breaking and community news, visit Rekord’s websites:

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  AUTHOR
Stephen Selaluke
Mamelodi journalist

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