By Jonk wa Mashamba
JMPD, SAPS and other law enforcement agencies have addressed the illegal connection Alexandra, resulting in the chaos and death of a civilian.
But City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena described the recent operation as a success.
This follows an operation by City Power to cut illegal connections in parts of Alexandra Township.
Mangena said the operation was called following complaints from formalized residents about frequent outages in the areas due to overloading of the network, and the dangerous situation of electrocutions.
He said the operation focused on hotspots that included Riverpark, and the informal settlements along London Road.
“About 23 tons of aluminium and copper cables worth an estimated R27 million were removed during the operation.
“Illegal connections pose a biggest challenge to reliable electricity supply in the City of Johannesburg.”
He said that illegal connections were not only dangerous for community members, but that the City had lost millions of rands in revenue.
Mangena said in Alexandra, there were several hotspots of illegal connection which is the cause of the frequent outages in the township.
“Illegal connectors have also vandalized streetlights in areas that include London road, and Vasco da Gama.
“In Riverpark alone, City Power has spent about R2.5 million to replace burnt minisubstations and pole-mounted transformers in the past six months alone.
“It’s worth noting that our minisubstations in the area of Riverpark have reached full capacity.
“We have requested the SAPS and JMPD to do more to gather intelligence on the ringleaders of illegal connections, including those who reconnect them, including from City Power and our contractors,” he said.
He said the land where Riverpark flats are built belongs to the Gauteng Provincial government.
“Neither the MMC nor any City Power officials promised the residents that they will not be cut off.
“Instead the office of the MMC advised residents to start the process by approaching Human Settlements Department, and MMC office will facilitate that.
“This is because City Power is not able to electrify an area before it’s proclaimed by the housing authorities.
“It’s worth pointing out that it’s in the interest of City Power to electrify informal settlements as it enables us to monitor consumption and adjust capacity accordingly while we strive to cater for all the residents. It also enables the City to generate much needed revenue.”
Concerning a resident who was fatally shot by a security guard, Mangena set the record straight.
“We were informed that there were protests that started after the cut off operations with residents burning tyres along London Road between 13th Avenue and Alex Mall.
“It’s reported that a confrontation started between the mall security and some of the protesters who wanted to force their way into the mall. A protester was shot and reported to have died in hospital.
“We can confirm that this incident happened long after City Power and its contractors left the area.”