A 48-roomed housing unit, a church, a butchery, and several grocery stores in Roodepoort, Johannesburg, were plunged into darkness after City Power disconnected illegal connections.
City Power officials accompanied by other City of Johannesburg entities pounced on the housing unit where they made discoveries of rampant illegal connections.
The housing unit comprising 48 rental rooms is built on a recreational park in Roodepoort. The owner told officials that he had leased the property from the City of Johannesburg.
The man claimed that he had built 48 rooms that he is renting out for R1 650 per month each to his tenants.
The building is illegally sourcing electricity and water from neighbouring properties.
Meanwhile, City Power officials also moved in on the Golden Meat Basket butchery, the local Universal Church, and neighbouring stores and disconnected and confiscated illegally connected cables.
The City claims that it was losing almost R2 billion annually due to illegal connections.
MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Mpho Moerane said they are reloading their cleaner Joburg campaign to clean Roodepoort and remove all illegally connected electricity.
“We have cut off all businesses that are illegally connected to our grid. We are going to audit everyone in this area for the entire week. We are asking all businesses to come to us and fix their accounts and to be properly reconnected.
“We want to send a stern a strong warning to all those who continue connecting power illegally. We have a duty to remove all illegal connections,” said Moerane.
Moerane said some businesses have been fined R30 000.
Some businesses refused to give officials their municipal accounts.
“Some meters are not on our database. We want to send a warning to our officials not to illegally connect power to businesses and provide them with stolen meters. We are tracing how some businesses illegally obtained our meters and from who.
“I don’t want to rule out that our officials are colluding with business people to illegally provide them with electricity. The City is losing almost R2 billion per annum on illegal connection and non-accounted electricity.
“We want to reduce the almost R2 billion we are losing and reinvest it [in] infrastructure. If not, infrastrciture will collapse and people will experience overloading and will not have electricity,” Moerane said.
Moerane promised that they are going to audit all missing meters from their warehouse.
“If our officials are involved, we are going to take them to disciplinary hearings and ultimately fire them if we find any wrongdoing against them,” Moerane threatened.