City Power Removes Illegal Power Cables In Alexandra

City Power officials – accompanied by police – on Tuesday swooped on Alexandra township, Johannesburg, where they removed illegal electicity connections.

Some community members threw stones at City Power technicians as they tried to stop the removal of illegally connected cables.

However, City Power was assisted by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department to complete the operation.

“Our Revenue Protection Service is currently conducting an operation to cut off illegal connections in Riverpark and along London Road, Alexandra,” said City Power.

With more people joining the protests to resist the removal of illegal connections, City Power abandoned the operation.

Commenting on the operation, spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, said City Power had cut off illegal connections in certain areas of the township.

About 23 tons of aluminum and copper cables worth an estimated R27 million were removed during the operation.

“Illegal connections pose the biggest challenge to reliable electricity supply in the City of Johannesburg,” said Mangena.

“Not only is it dangerous but it costs the city millions in lost revenue.”

Alexandra has several hotspots where there are illegal connections that cause frequent outages in the township.

On the protests, Mangena said: “We were informed that there were protests that started after the cut-off operations with residents burning tyres along London Road between 13th Avenue and Alex Mall.

“It’s reported that a confrontation started between the mall security and some of the protesters who wanted to force their way into the mall.”

Mangena said a protester was shot and was reported to have died in hospital.

“We can confirm that this incident happened long after City Power and its contractors left the area,” said Mangena.

He said illegal connectors have also vandalised streetlights in areas that include London road, and Vasco da Gama.

In Riverpark alone, City Power has spent about R2.5 million to replace burnt mini substations and pole-mounted transformers in the past six months alone.

“It’s worth noting that our mini substations in the area of Riverpark have reached full capacity,” said Mangena.

“We have requested the SAPS and JMPD to do more to gather intelligence on the ring leaders of illegal connections, including those who reconnect them, including from City Power and our contractors.”