BCM out­sources izinyoka prob­lem

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - By MAMELA GOWA

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. —

Pic­ture: SINO MAJANGAZA

TIME TO ACT: BCM to­day briefs bid­ders on a ten­der to re­move il­le­gal con­nec­tions

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