Eskom has condemned a hostage incident in Zonkizizwe, Ekhurhuleni where its employees were forced by customers to unlawfully restore supply.
Eskom is currently implementing load reduction in many high-density areas in Gauteng that are prone to illegal connections, meter bypasses and vandalism of electricity infrastructure.
The power utility explained the illegal connections cause extreme network overloading, power failures, and damage to its infrastructure.
On Sunday the power utility implemented load reduction in Cosmo City, Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Orange Farm, Sebokeng, and Soweto.
These communities are now fighting back against the clampdown by attacking Eskom technicians who are trying to address the problem.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told ENCA apart from the hostage situation, their technicians were also attacked in Diepsloot and Bronkhorstspruit recently.
The company said it is committed to protect its employees and assets and will not allow communities to put undue pressure on Eskom or its employees in any way.
“Illegal connections and tampered meters will first be removed, and audits conducted before supply is restored,” Eskom said.
The adversarial relationship between Eskom and communities where illegal connections are commonplace is not new.
Earlier this year Eskom started to disconnect various areas in Soweto because of non-payment and illegal connections.
Residents struck back through widespread protests and by reconnecting themselves to the grid again.
These illegal connections include wiring directly from streetlights and running wires directly from their homes to the distribution boxes.
To ensure their illegal connections stay up, groups of residents guarded electrical boxes to prevent Eskom employees from disconnecting them again.
Eskom Twitter posts
2/2 Eskom is committed to protect its employees and assets and will not allow communities to put undue pressure on Eskom or its employees in any way. Illegal connections and tampered meters will first be removed and audits conducted before supply is restored.
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) June 28, 2020