- South Africa’s state owned energy utility, Eskom, continues to experience high incidents of theft and vandalism of its distribution infrastructure around the country.
- The perpetrators vandalise and steal Transformers, bypass meter boxes, substations, control rooms security fences copper cables impacting on the security of supply.
- As part of curbing vandalism of its assets, Eskom requests community members to play an active role in preventing these criminal activities to minimise inconvenience to customers.
To this end, Eskom is embarking on a vigorous communication campaign to create awareness about the impact of electricity infrastructure vandalism on the security of supply to the communities, and the dangers of illegal connections to community members, in particular the younger generation. The campaign is set to initially target the identified areas where vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure is very prevalent, however, will also be extended nationally early in 2022.
Network overloading that is exacerbated by illegal connections, meter bypasses, cable theft and vandalism of critical essential infrastructure leaves communities without power for extended hours inconveniencing businesses and households around the affected areas.
Eskom technicians, as part of their day-to-day activities around the country, remove illegal connections and fine the transgressors. Unfortunately, these are immediately replaced as soon as they leave. That is why the involvement of communities is one of the key factors to solving this problem, to be part of the solution. It is up to community members to blow the whistle on destruction of their infrastructure that is used for service delivery. This vandalism affects everyone because it means there will be no electricity supply in that area.
“Vandalising Eskom’s assets is a criminal act that leads to financial loss for both Eskom and community members. We need involvement of communities and community structures to help us fight the scourge of electricity theft by reporting theft and vandalism,” Distribution Group Executive Monde Bala.
Eskom invites members of the public to report criminal activities by reporting illegal connections, theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure to the toll-free Eskom crime line number: 0800 112 722 or to the nearest police station.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal