Eskom loses R23m to criminals

DANGER:Eskom's powerline is overloaded with illegal electricity wires that taps electricity to Lusaka and Bambamecisi informal settlements near NkowaNkowa township outside Tzaneen. Pic. Michael Sakuneka. 10/2008.  Sowetan
DANGER:Eskom's powerline is overloaded with illegal electricity wires that taps electricity to Lusaka and Bambamecisi informal settlements near NkowaNkowa township outside Tzaneen. Pic. Michael Sakuneka. 10/2008. Sowetan

Michael Sakuneka

Michael Sakuneka

Eskom in Limpopo has lost almost R23 million this year to criminals because of illegal connections and cable theft.

This was revealed by Eskom's northern region risk manager Donald Kekana yesterday during a site visit to illegal connections hotspots at informal settlements in NkowaNkowa outside Tzaneen.

This was part of the company's electricity safety week.

Most of the power lines in the area are overloaded with illegal connections that tap electricity from the power lines in the township to informal settlements, where dangerous live cables pass over the ground to the shacks.

Kekana said illegal connections were threatening the lives of children in the area.

"As a result of this, two teenagers died in the area after they were electrocuted by live wires while walking on the street during the rainfalls last year," Kekana said.

He said they had realised that there was a syndicate operating in the area assisting people to connect electricity illegally. The culprits charged between R1000 and R3000 for the connections.

"The electricity safety week is a nationwide campaign aimed at ensuring that all South Africans are aware of electricity-relateddangers so that they may continue to live their lives to the fullest," he said.

Areas that were visited included Bambamecisi and Lusaka informal settlements outside NkowaNkowa, where many electricity power lines and sub-stations were seriously overloaded due to illegal connections.

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