“There was an incident where a person was electrocuted in the past due to illegal electricity connections in the area.”
ILLEGAL electricity connections continue to pose a hazard to the !Xun and Khwe community in Platfontein, just outside of Kimberley.
Many residents have resorted to connecting power cables to homes that have electricity in the area in an attempt to have the same “luxury” as their fellow residents.
Some residents have pointed out that although they understand the plight of those who are without electricity, the connections are however a great danger to them.
“The people who have made these connections are not not qualified electricians,” they said. “The cables used in these connections are also just normal household wires and not the ones used for outside connections. Some of the cables have also deteriorated due to the weather conditions and due to people walking over them.
“The cables are just lying on the ground and are not even buried in the ground. Our children walk over these connections every day and that is a great danger to them as some people merely use a piece of plastic to cover places where the cable has broken.
“We understand that the people who illegally connected the lines are doing so out of desperation, but they are dangerous.”
The concerned residents said that the illegal connections have resulted in the death of a person in the past.
“A few years back a man died after he touched the fence of a house which had an illegal electricity connection. The wires were exposed and were touching the fence. That man died on the scene. We are deeply concerned that more of such incidents will follow.”
Others placed the blame on the Sol Plaatje Municipality for not providing all residents with electricity.
“The municipality is dragging its feet with the provision of services. We have been living under these circumstances for many years. They have not done anything to rectify this problem. Even after that man died years back, they did not come and supply residents with electricity. How many more people must die?”
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said that the local authority is aware of the problem and is very concerned about it.
“There was an incident where a person was electrocuted in the past due to illegal electricity connections in the area. These connections pose a danger to residents because the cables are exposed. It is also a danger when it rains. We have had several campaigns where we informed the residents in the area about the dangers of these illegal connections. We have also cut the electricity supply of those who were found to be guilty of such connections,” said Matsie.
He added that the budget for electrification is determined by the national Department of Energy.
“The Department of Energy is responsible for allocating a budget for the supply of electricity. If an electrification project had been allocated a budget, then that budget is used on that project. We cannot use the budget of a certain project in another area,” Matsie said.