Joe Slovo residents intimidated by electricity thieves

Several Joe Slovo residents have complained about a group of people stealing electricity from a power transformer on the corners of Freedom Way and Democracy Way.

One man, who didn’t want to be named as he fears for his and his family’s safety, said anyone who questioned what was happening was intimidated.

“This has been going on for the past three months now. I’ve even seen a few guys there almost acting as bodyguards of that transformer, and I have heard that some of these guys even carry guns.

“Of course, there is nothing much us as residents can do about it because we have to live with these people here, and if we go to the authorities, we are likely to become targets,” said the man.

The connections to this transformer lead to Siqalo informal settlement within Joe Slovo.

The settlement is where the old unregistered Khozi Primary School was located. The school was removed mid-year in 2017 (“School’s office torched,” Tabletalk, June 21, 2017).

Ward 4 councillor Wandisile Ngeyi said he knew about the situation.

“It is for the people to report this matter to the police for investigation and arrests. I am already speaking to the leadership of the informal settlements and also having meetings with City officials from the electricity department,” said Mr Ngeyi.

Joe Slovo residents say those doing the illegal connections are trying to make a quick buck.

However, Nomtha Jikela, another Joe Slovo resident, said she had friends in Siqalo and their living conditions were terrible.

“It’s already bad enough that our people have to live in places with poor basic services, now they also have to live in the dark.

“I understand that maybe they are not going about it the right way, but what are people to do? Do they not have the right to running water and access to electricity?”

Another resident, who is opposed to the illegal connections and also wanted to stay anonymous, said she lived near the transformer and experienced nightly power cuts, which she believed were caused by the illegal connections.

“I’m also worried about how dangerous this might all be to all of us involved.

“What will happen if our power goes out and comes back in the middle of the night while we have some appliances on? A fire can start and we can burn in our own homes because of this,” she said.

She said she had reported the matter to Milnerton SAPS.

Mayco member for energy and climate change, Phindile Maxiti, said a hole had been made in the security fence around the transformer.

“We condemn the vandalism of any electricity infrastructure as the cost to repair the damaged infrastructure takes away from other service delivery responsibilities,” he said.

Cable theft damaged electricity infrastructure, caused power outages and put lives at risk, he said.

Mr Maxiti said the City was making every effort to provide housing opportunities and services, including access to electricity, to areas across the metro.

To report any suspicious activities near the electricity infrastructure, call the City’s Metals Theft Unit on 0800 222 771.

Electricity theft and outages can be reported to the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089, by SMS to 31220, or by email to power@capetown.gov.za