South Africa

WATCH: City Power cuts off illegal electricity connections in area rife with zama zamas

City Power has warned that it will increase its efforts in the fight against illegal electricity connections in Johannesburg.

The utility  has rolled out a massive cut-off campaign across the city.

In a joint operation with the South African Police Services (Saps) and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), the power utility carried out a cut-off operation in Crown Mines informal settlement on Monday.

Watch: City Power cutting off illegal connections in Crown Mines

Illegal electricity connections could be seen running along trees which were being used as makeshift electricity pylons.

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Cut-off operation

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said they confiscated a large amount of cables during the operation.

“During the operation, officials found dangerously exposed cables running on the surface of the street, potentially endangering lives. Those cables were connected to our local transformers, to power hundreds of households, illegally.

“The transformers are mounted in an industrial area, to service businesses, which are now suffering as a result,” said Mangena.

He added the theft of electricity and vandalism of infrastructure is negatively impacting businesses in the area.

He said during the raid, City Power also found that two of the businesses in the area were connected illegally.

“They were promptly disconnected as well. These operations will be carried out routinely across the city to avoid cases of broad tempering with our electricity infrastructure to become a recurring phenomenon.”

Illegal mining

“Crown Mines, like many informal settlements in the area, accommodates a lot of illegal miners. Illegal mining has become a rising concern to City Power’s electricity grid and infrastructure which contribute to service delivery challenges,” Mangena said.

He said in the past year, a substation in the neighbouring Roodepoort Service Delivery Centre was vandalised by suspected illegal miners, causing R3.5 million in damages.

“In February 2023, City Power officials led by the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services councillor Jack Sekwaila conducted an oversight visit of the Robertville and Roodepoort substations along Main Reef Road and found that the infrastructure was at risk of collapsing, due to the illegal mining activities taking place nearby and under the substations,” said Mangena.

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