South Africa: Illegal Electricity Connections Cost Cape Town R83m in 10 Months

Municipal workers dismantle illegal electricity connections in Philippi, Cape Town (file photo).

While the nation grapples with the effects of rolling blackouts, Cape Town has intensified efforts to remove unlawful electricity connections that cost the city millions.

Ongoing illegal electricity connections and vandalism have cost the City of Cape Town R83-million in less than a year. Losses have increased from R56-million in 2022, R28-million in 2021, R14-million in 2020 and R20-million in 2019.

In the third quarter of 2023, the city recorded 201 cases of electricity vandalism and illegal connections in Mitchells Plain and Philippi.

On Saturday, the city released a statement on vandalism and electricity theft that occurred in September 2023, with 81 incidents recorded for Area South, 27 for Area North and 18 for Area East. The areas cover Mitchells Plain and Philippi, including the surrounding communities of Lotus River and Grassy Park.

Electricity theft

The City of Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Beverley van Reenen, told Daily Maverick last month that communities also needed to get involved to stop electricity theft.

"Earlier this year, the city launched its energy safety team to assist law enforcement agencies and the South African Police Service in protecting critical electricity infrastructure in the metro," she said.

Van Reenen said: "The team carries out disconnection operations across the metro on a regular basis. However, this is not only an issue for the city, Eskom or the...

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