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Child’s death saddens electrical department

Media Statement: Child’s death saddens electrical department
Issued George Municipality, 14 April 2023

George Municipality extend our condolences to the family of the child electrocuted on Wednesday, 12 April 2023 in Zone 9, Thembalethu. The incident occurred late afternoon and was due to an illegally connected wire. An inquest docket has been opened by the state and the municipality has also opened a police case for infrastructure damage and theft. The Municipality has been unable to establish contact with the parents of the deceased child.

Portfolio Councillor (MMC) for Electrotechnical Services, Cllr Nosicelo Mbete noted that the department is saddened by this latest incident. “The loss of a young life is so unnecessary, we cannot overemphasize the dangers attached to illegal connections. Any kind of electricity ‘tapping’, no matter how small or innocent-looking, is illegal and dangerous,” she said. An operation to remove illegal connections took place in this specific area on 29 March this year. Such operations are undertaken on a regular basis to increase community safety.

To educate the communities and increase community safety, regular safety operations targeted at removing illegal connections.  George Municipality will continue to act decisively in such matters, as the practice of illegal connection puts the perpetrator in danger of electrocution, risking injury and death to themselves as well as the rest of the community. These connections lie across pathways and walkways where anyone passing can easily be electrocuted.

Furthermore, the George Municipality has allocated R10,5million of its own funds into the electrification of informal settlements, and these projects are well under way including a pilot project of electrification of informal settlements using renewable energy.

An electricity connection is considered illegal when it is connected to the George Municipal network without the organisation’s permission. Wires are connected to a mini-substation or overhead pole.  The forms of electricity theft include illegal connections, illegal electrification schemes and meter tampering and bypassing. These illegal electrical thefts are mostly in areas where illegal informal structures are built.

Where people have connected themselves illegally, George Municipality will continue to actively find the perpetrators and lay criminal charges against them. In terms of the Criminal Procedures Act, interference with and the damage to Municipal property could be regarded as sabotage and should someone be found guilty of such an offence, a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years can follow.

Illegal connections should be reported to 044 803 9222 or 044 801 9222 or after hours on 044 801 6300.

The George Municipality offers a reward for information that leads to the successful conviction of electrical theft and /vandalism in a court of law. The witness will have to go on record to the authorities, giving his/her name and contact details to testify, but his/her identity will be protected. Report to 0860 044 044