BCM outsources izinyoka problem
THERE are an estimated 100 000 informal homes with illegal electricity connections in Buffalo City Metro.
This was revealed yesterday by metro spokesman Thandy Matebese while commenting on plans to appoint a company to assist in removing the “wires of death”.
BCM last week Tuesday advertised a tender for removal of illegal connections. The successful service provider will be responsible for removing all illegal connections for three years.
The metro has failed to curb the problem due to limited labour resources.
Matebese said illegal connections cost the metro about R47-million a year, and the number was increasing.
About R1.5-million has been budgeted for removal of the wires over the threeyear period and the service provider will focus on East London, Mdantsane and King William’s Town areas.
Matebese could not say when the company would begin.
“One existing team is not sufficient to tackle this problem and fulfil our obligation in terms of the Occupational Health Safety Act,” said Matebese. “The electricity department does not have enough skilled labour to address this, hence the need for a service contract.”
Some city residents welcomed the move and said the work to remove illegal connections could not begin soon enough.
East Bank residents were particularly happy as their area is badly affected.
Veronica Xulu said: “These illegal electricity connections have been giving us a headache for years now and during this time (BCM) has failed to remove the wires completely.”
“When our transformers exploded and we reported the matter to BCM, their officers would come and refuse to fix the problem because of those wires. “They are also scared of the wires. “Communities have become divided because of this issue,” she added.
Other affected areas include Duncan Village, Scenery Park, Berlin and Cambridge Location.
Cambridge Location resident Khuthala Mntumni said despite the recent death of five-year-old Elethu Xakatha, who was electrocuted by a live wire near his home, izinyoka continued to connect wires in the area. “People want electricity. “Sometimes the metro does come and disconnect. They take away all the dangerous wires but in no time izinyoka reconnect again so I don’t know if the new company will make a difference,” said Mntumni.
“BCM can’t just remove their wires and not put any alternative for them, they will connect again.”
Matebese said the appointed teams would confiscate wires used for illegal connections and also be responsible for arresting illegal electricity users and connectors.
“We already have a dedicated team removing these on a daily basis and are now escalating our capacity in dealing with this network threat,” he said. —
TIME TO ACT: BCM today briefs bidders on a tender to remove illegal connections