Tungsten lamp with a bokeh
On Wednesday, members of the media were escorted on a Public Safety tour to see the influx of illegal electricity connections in Marikana informal settlement, Philippi.

This is one of a few marginalised areas that South African parastatal Eskom is continuously bolstering efforts towards education on electrical health and safety, especially in high density areas where such illegal connections can be fatal.

Other areas rife with illegal connections are Waggebietjie, Marcus Garvey, Witsand and Crossroads.

Public Safety is high on utility’s list of priorities

The aim of the tour was to highlight electricity dangers associated with illegal connections, cable theft, by-passing and vandalism.

[quote]Eskom explained in a company statement that these illegal connections are often connected to a mini sub-station or a neighbour’s meter or electricity board.

Alwie Lester, Eskom Western Cape Provincial Head commented: “One of our top priorities at Eskom is safety, and this extends to everyone including our employees, contractors, consumers as well as the general public.

“As part of our commitment to ‘ZERO HARM’, we would like to implore our communities to help us eliminate the various hazards brought about by the unsafe use or connections of electricity.”

Lester explained: “We want to avoid electricity-related injuries and fatalities in all our communities. Our visit to Marikana is one part of our drive to work with communities towards a safer environment.”

Disseminating the right message is a matter of urgency

Despite continuous efforts in driving educational campaigns on electrical health and safety across the Western Cape Province, these illegal connections are still coming up in large numbers.

The utility has issued a plea to the public to report any identified or suspected illegal connections as well as exposed, damaged or low-hanging power cables to 08600 37566 (08600 ESKOM).

Lester stressed: “We are appealing to people to be more cautious and to refrain from connecting electricity illegally. By remaining vigilant and acting responsibly, we can ensure that our loved ones and communities remain safe.”