Lights out for izinyoka

Monday, April 4, 2011
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The City of Ekurhuleni has issued a stern warning to residents who are involved in making illegal electricity connections. 

Those involved in illegal electricity connections are notoriously known as izinyoka (meaning 'snakes'). 

The City's spokesperson, Zweli Dlamini, said: "If you live in Ekurhuleni and have illegally tapped into the electricity network, stop the criminal practice now or face the consequences."

The warning follows the arrest of three Dawn Park men for tampering with the council's electricity network.

The three suspects were arrested at their homes last Wednesday and charged with illegal connection of electricity and tempering with the council's meters at the Dawn Park Police Station.

The municipality launched the clamp down drive recently after several failed attempts to get consumers in the area to pay reinstatement fees for their electricity to be properly connected and their persistent meter tempering when council removes the illegal connections. 

"The first reinstatement fine is R2 050 and the second fine is double the amount, R4 100. If the perpetrator continues tempering with the meter, we issue the third and last fine, which amounts to R6 150," said Dlamini.

Dlamini cautioned those who have already received fines to stop the criminal practice and pay the fines because when they ignore the fines, they will eventually be liable to pay hefty fines.

"Last year October, we undertook a meter audit across Ekurhuleni. We know exactly who is tempering with the council's meters and we are coming for them. We have tried to give people a chance by normalising the meters but they continue to temper with them, leaving us with no choice but to impose heavy fines and to effect arrests," he said.

He further said the City's system is able to detect even those that have tempered with meters and cunningly disguise by purchasing electricity of little value to fool the metro into believing they are not bypassing the meter. 

"We do know the crooks that buy electricity for R20 while they consume far above the value of their purchase and they are on our non-purchasing list," he said, adding that "these are the same people who are quick to protest for services while they make it impossible for the City to collect revenue."

The arrested suspects were expected to pay admission of guilt fines or to appear before the local court. They would still, however, be liable to pay the City's fines and sort out their accounts with the council.-BuaNews

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