On Friday, South African parastatal, Eskom, issued a statement requesting the help of the public to bring to book the electricity thieves who are responsible for the deaths of 29 people and for the serious injuries suffered by 82 others in Kwazulu-Natal over the past three years as a result of illegal electricity connections and other forms of electricity theft.
The power utility has been concentrating its efforts towards abolishing all acts of theft and vandalism, which its assets have fallen prey to.
General Manager for Eskom in Kwazulu-Natal, Monde Bala, said: “Electricity theft remains one of the least reported crimes in South Africa despite the fact that an alarmingly high number of people, pets and livestock are killed every year as a result of illegal connections, improper house wiring, cable theft and low hanging conductors.”
“South Africans are a passionate people who have in the past rallied to the aid of those who might not be able to defend themselves. We can see this today in the fight against atrocities such as rhino poaching.
Bala added: “However, we are yet to see a similar display of passion and activism in the fight against electricity theft, a crime which, year after year, claims the lives of innocent people in many communities across the country.
“We wish to see all residents rising to the call to take an active stand against this crime by reporting suspected acts of electricity or cable theft to Operation Khanyisa. Tip-offs can be sent anonymously via SMS to 32211 (R1/SMS).”
Operation Khanyisa, is an Eskom-led initiative, which aims to bring awareness to the dangers around these illegal acts.
According to Bala, the campaign has led to numerous arrests of electricity-theft suspects and more than 25 cases on the court roll in the last three years.
“It is clear that more needs to be done to combat electricity theft,” said Bala. “But we cannot win this battle on our own. We need the public’s assistance to bring to book not only those responsible for the 29 deaths in KZN, but also those who need to account for similar incidents in other parts of the country.
“Do the right thing and report electricity theft. Your simple SMS to 32211 could mean the difference between life and death for someone.”