Electricity theft poses deadly risk

CABLES GALORE: Wherever you go in Nelson Mandela Bay's many informal settlements, illegal electricity connections – death traps for thousands of people – that are connected up in all sorts of ways, have spun out of control. Picture: MORNÉ DU RANDT
CABLES GALORE: Wherever you go in Nelson Mandela Bay’s many informal settlements, illegal electricity connections – death traps for thousands of people – that are connected up in all sorts of ways, have spun out of control. Picture: MORNÉ DU RANDT

INFORMAL settlements across Nelson Mandela Bay have copper wires strung over gravel roads, over the roofs of tin and wooden shacks, in trees and even along fences. Many a child has been electrocuted by them over the past 10 years.

The Herald team visited the 10 hotspots around the city with the worst izinyoka connections, where tapping electricity from substations, transformers, power mains and residential electricity meters has become a way of surviving poverty.

In Vastrap near Booysen Park, dubbed the most hazardous of the settlements on the top 10 list, sparks fly off transformers as the overloading of cables threatens to cause an explosion.

Electrical back feeds have shocked many residents, including a reporter from The Herald who washed hands in a Booysen Park Drive home while investigating the situation – luckily without serious injury.

In Walmer township, where disgruntled shack dwellers recently went on a violent rampage when the municipality disconnected their illegal power supply, children play along wires etched into the scenery of the township, exposed to the danger of electrocution.  – Alvené du Plessis

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