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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

City Power to officially switch on lights in Lenasia informal settlements

These informal settlements have already been electrified, however the official switch on ceremony will be on Thursday.

Residents of Patsing in the south of Johannesburg will officially be added to the power grid for the first time since the informal settlements were founded.

On Thursday the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Cllr Jack Sekwaila, and City Power CEO, Ms Tshifularo Mashava, will officially switch on the lights for the residents of Patsing informal settlement in Lenasia.

This initiative is part of the drive to electrify informal settlements in the City of Johannesburg. 

Dangers of illegal electricity connections 

Speaking to The Citizen, City Power Media Liaison’s Tumi Mashishi said City Power’s aim is not only to provide electricity as a basic need but also to try to end the illegal connections found in these settlements.

“Illegal connections pose several dangers, including overloading the network, vandalism of infrastructure, and safety hazards to both children and adults. In most cases children get more electrocuted than adults,” said Mashishi.

Moreover, she said illegal power connections are often not installed properly, which can also result in electrical fires.

“It is crucial to address these issues and provide legal and safe electricity connections to informal settlements,” she added.

Overloading the network can lead to power outages and damage to electrical equipment. Vandalism of infrastructure, such as stealing cables, not only disrupts the power supply but also poses a safety risk. 

According to Mashishi the project to electrify informal settlements in the City of Johannesburg was initiated in April 2023.

In addition to Patsing a neighboring informal settlement called Veggieng will also be connected legally.

Reporting illegal connections and consequences

She said it was important to report these connections as they pose potent dangers and consequences.

If caught, individuals who connect to the power grid illegally can face significant fines and even jail time, Mashishi warned. 

Illegal connections are unfair to citizens who are legally connected and pay for their electricity as they constantly experience power outages due to non-payers who overload the system causing it to crash, she said.

“Illegal connections can destroy photo cells that control streetlights, contributing to a strain on the network as street lights stay on all day,” said Mashishi.

It is crucial to address these issues and provide legal and safe electricity connections to informal settlements.

The City of Johannesburg encourages whistleblowing on residents who have an illegal electricity connection.

“If you know or suspect anyone with an illegal water or electricity connection, or notice people tampering with connections, please contact the City immediately at Joburg Connect on 0860 562 874 or 0860-JOBURG, and select the option for City Power (02).

“Alternatively, call the City’s Anti-fraud Hotline 0800 002 587 or City Power’s Fraud Hotline on 0800 003 251. Not only is it illegal, it is also dangerous,” according to the City’s website.

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