Businesses, homes disconnected
Illegal connection clampdown
Anumber of businesses and residential premises were this week disconnected following the discovery of illegal electricity connections and meter tampering when the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality conducted a door-to-door inspection on Wednesday.
Municipal manager Nokuthula Zondani said the operation was conducted for revenue generation purposes.
A team of senior management, councillors, municipal staff members and a representative from the national cabinet were all part of the revenue enhancement drive and were set to visit various establishments and households within the local municipality.
“As you know, we are one of the ailing municipalities that have financial distress. We have a revenue enhancement committee that sits on a monthly basis. We then decided to start with the operations. We are going to conduct the operation until Friday and then do an assessment thereafter.
“So the importance is for revenue enhancement and also to correct whatever we have found within our rates.”
Zondani said part of the operation was to also establish, where premises had a block of flats, whether necessary processes had been followed.
“Revenue is not only on electricity. There are different streams so today we are hitting two birds with one stone. Out of what we have observed today, we have seen law-abiding citizens running operations in an acceptable manner but we still need to come back with home affairs because we have seen a number of foreign nationals. We need to check if they are eligible to be here and whether the documents they have allow them to run businesses.”
Zondani said the municipality was guided by credit control policy where penalties would be imposed to those found to be on the wrong side of the law.
“Upfront penalties for businesses is R30,000 and R12,000 for residential or households. After that, we do an averaging of the electricity you are supposed to be consuming but are not consuming and we charge you that fee.”
Mayor Thembeka Bunu said the municipality had been constantly fixing damaged substations due to illegal connections and overloading.
She said the operation had indeed revealed the misuse, tampering and illegal electricity connections.
“As a municipality, we are losing a lot and our revenue collection is very low. We suspect there are people who are supposed to pay for services but are not doing so and surprisingly this operation has revealed just that. We are here to take our assets from anyone who refuses to pay.”
She said the intention was to conduct the operation on a daily basis to vigorously address the problem.
Meanwhile, vehicles parking illegally were also impounded around town, traffic fines were issued and illegal street vendors were removed.