The Buffalo City Metro in the Eastern Cape is fighting an uphill battle against ongoing cable theft and illegal electrical connections. The theft is causing severe damage to the Metro’s infrastructure and is costing local government millions of rands. The East London based metro is intensifying raids on hotspots.
Metro officials cutting off illegal electrical connections Illegal connection is more prevalent in informal dwellings. Authorities say this is crippling the economy.
“Part of the reasons we are battling to collect rates it’s because people are getting on into our grid and connecting illegally and we are unable to recover those funds. We must buy bulk of electricity and supply to people and people that are connecting illegally and stealing cable are making us put millions of rands in terms of just fixing those infrastructure and trying to connect so its a huge challenge for us” says city spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya.
Deserving citizens are often left in the dark because of cable theft and illegal connection.
“Our appliances such TVs fridges get damaged regularly and we experience power cut offs. These cables also poses a danger to our children” says one resident.
Informal shack dwellers say they have submitted numerous electricity applications to the metro.
“We are only doing it so that we can cook, wash ourselves and bake for our kids because we are not working, nobody is supporting us. It’s only for our kids even though we know its illegal” they say.
The Buffalo City Metro says its unable to supply electricity to people who built shacks on illegal land.
Experts delve into cable theft industry in South Africa, 15 Jan 2022: