Illegal electricity fatal at Eastern Cape rural townships

Eskom official showing illegal connections within the Joe Slovo community

Eskom official showing illegal connections within the Joe Slovo community

By MTHULISI SIBANDA in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape
EASTERN CAPE, (CAJ News) – POWER utility Eskom is concerned at the illegal and unsafe electricity connections posing an underlying threat to rural townships in the Eastern Cape Province.
In the 2016/2017 financial year, 20 people were reported injured and another six dead in the province as a result of coming into contact with electricity through dangerous, exposed and incorrect wiring.
Among communities worst affected are the Joe Slovo Township in Cofimvaba.
Roley McIntyre, Safety, Hygiene, Environment and Quality Manager in Eskom’s Eastern Cape Operating Unit, said fatalities and injuries to members of the public due to the unsafe use of electricity remained a major concern.
He said the majority of incidents were related to people coming into contact with electricity through illegal connections, vandalized equipment and low-hanging conductors.
“Most disturbing is the fact that children are most at risk in Joe Slovo Township and other rural townships,” McIntyre said.
He said Eskom was committed to reducing these incidents and eventually eliminating them.
“We need to work with our communities as well as the local municipalities,” said McIntyre.
Eskom is looking at the installation of “hot phones” in rural areas.
These will link directly to the Eskom contact centre at no charge.
“We realise that many people simply cannot afford to call Eskom to report unsafe or illegal connections,” said the executive.
Nationally, illegal connections have cost Eskom and the municipalities over R20 billion. The biggest culprits are residential homes, and the agricultural sector a close second.
 CAJ News



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