The Kouga Municipality is facing an uphill battle to prevent illegal electricity connections to the grid.
Attempts to disconnect illegal users or restoring electricity after tripping due to illegal connects, frequently result in municipal workers being threatened and their tyres slashed.
According to Kouga Executive Mayor, Elza van Lingen, illegal electricity connections are most prevalent at informal settlements over the region. “In some instances backyard dwellers also make use of illegal connections.”
According to Van Lingen, the loss of income due to illegal connections is estimated at R10 million for the 2015/2016 financial year.
To clamp down on these perpetrators, the municipality is currently focusing on ensuring that the East Cape Department of Human Settlements fulfills its promise to build 1 500 RDP houses at Ocean View.
“This will help to ensure that all affected residents receive a proper house with basic services such as electricity and water.
“Erven have already been marked out to be electrified as part of the housing project. There have, however, been delays in rolling out the project because there are residents who do not want to relocate to these erven.
“It is a sensitive matter and we will continue to work towards an amicable solution. We believe the ward councillor has an important role to play in this process.”
Van Lingen says, “Exposed wires can electrocute and kill people and animals,” says Van Lingen.
“They also increase the risk of fires, which can be devastating in informal areas where the structures tend to be more flammable and built closely together.
“Illegal connections also lead to black-outs because the electrical network overloads and trips.”