Not paying for electricity is theft, says new City of Johanesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse as some residents in Soweto have been without power for months.
The Eskom Gauteng management and Phalatse met on Monday to discuss, among other issues, the Diepkloof electricity situation.
“We want to ensure the basic needs of the City if Johannesburg residents; electricity being one of them. However, we need communities to partner with us as we work on strategies to ensure that we provide reliable electricity and root out the theft and vandalism that are on the increase in Johannesburg.
“We urge the customers that are paying for electricity to work with us to expose those who are not paying, and also call out those who continue to steal electricity from Eskom. Not paying for electricity is theft,” says Phalatse in a statement following the meeting.
Eskom also urged customers to register for free basic electricity (FBE) with their respective municipalities as only 50% of those who qualify, making use of it.
The power utility said electricity supply to Diepkloof Zone 3 was disconnected due to high energy losses as a result of illegal connections, meter bypassing and customers buying electricity from ghost vendors.
Around 700 customers were disconnected and issued with a reconnection fee of R6,052.52 for non-payment of electricity.
Supply will be restored once the reconnection fees have been settled, said the power utility.
“In the past eight months, Eskom has lost revenue of approximately R96 million in the area of Diepkloof alone, where customers’ buying trends are dismally low since their conversion from post-paid to prepaid meters; which were installed to assist them to take better control of their electricity consumption.”
Meanwhile, the ANC in the City of Johannesburg is concerned that Phalatse has not been sworn in, nor has she announced the mayoral committee 14 days after her election.
“The new Mayor is unable to announce the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) because the Coalition partners
do not agree with the Democratic Alliance’s terms and conditions of Coalition agreement,” claimed ANC caucus leader Mpho Moerane.
“There is a threat that the scheduled council meeting planned for this week on the 9th of December might not sit to, among others, table the section 79 committees and elect Chairperson as the Mayor has failed to announce the MAYCO.
“This means the City is on cruise-control without proper political leadership, and the core service delivery departments will remain without MMCs. It also means crucial decisions to improve service delivery for the residents of this City are on hold because of the political bickering by the DA-led allies.”
The party also slammed Phalatse for meeting with Eskom instead of the resident affected by the power cuts.