JUST three days after the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality restored electricity to homes in Booysen Park – and deployed security guards to look after a sub-station – illegal power has been reconnected.
Yesterday, security guards were chased away by residents from the Vastrap informal settlement.
Officials from the municipality reconnected electricity supply to the Dunbar sub-station in Auburn Street last week while, at the same time, disconnecting illegal connections.
Yesterday, at the sub-station, about 20 cables were seen snaking their way into nearby shacks.
The sub-station was also vandalised and no security guards were on site.
Last week, the municipality said officials were looking at the possibility of temporarily connecting Vastrap residents to avoid illegal connections.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the municipality was dealing with the problem at Booysen Park, but plans were still at a sensitive stage.
“We have a number of programmes that we are planning to deal with the issue.
“However, due to the sensitive stage of our planning we cannot divulge them to [the] media, as that might compromise the plans,” he said.
Mniki urged communities to speak up when they saw people breaking the law.
“As long as communities do not assist the municipality in exposing the culprits, it will remain a challenge that we cannot win alone.
“We need unity, honesty and a community that believes in the rule of law.”
Mniki also blamed residents who bought electricity illegally, saying this made the problem worse.
“We have noticed that there are some within the community who receive electricity legally and who are contributing to this challenge by tampering with their electricity boxes, connecting sometimes more than 10 households living in shacks and selling them electricity illegally,” Mniki said.
Mayor Danny Jordaan last week met residents of Auburn Street who complained that they had been without electricity for almost a month.
Brian Kivedo, a DA councillor for the area, said the issue of illegal connections would not end until the city provided electricity to residents of Vastrap.
“This problem will end once the municipality installs electricity in Vastrap.
“There is no political will to solve this problem.
“I tabled a motion last year recommending that they install electricity in that area to end this problem, but that was shot down,” Kivedo said.