Johannesburg City Power has disconnected illegal power connections in some settlements in the Alexandra township, an act which sparked violent protests.
On Wednesday morning, JMPD and SANDF members assisted City Power to cut illegal connections, which it said cost it R2 billion per year.
The utility is in the township on Wednesday morning with police, the JMPD and SANDF members to clamp down on illegal connections which cost City Power around R2 billion per year.
City Power media relations manager Isaac Mangena told EWN only 4% of the people in the Alexandra township pay for electricity.
“Only 4% of the people staying in Alexandra are connected to City Power and are City Power customers,” he said.
City Power said the illegal connections are overloading their network which causes outages and other problems.
He added that the disconnection of illegal connections is not targeted at Alexandra and is done across Johannesburg.
He said this action is necessary to address problems with revenue collection in Johannesburg.
The impact of these illegal connections goes well beyond lost revenue. It results in transformers exploding and the grid going down.
These power outages have a devastating impact on businesses and the economy in Johannesburg.
Violent protest action
The action taken by City Power did not go down well with residents who launched violent protest action and clashed with police.
One community member said City Power is disregarding their community. “Eskom is the one with problems – not our people,” he said.
“We are not foreigners in this land. We are going to fight until electricity is given to our people,” he said.
These residents said they want political leaders like President Cyril Ramaphosa and EFF leader Julius Malema to visit them to hear their complaints.
City Power said it will not be deterred by the protests from residents and will continue its drive to cut illegal connections.