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A silent terror stalks society
Cashing in on power
oweto, Kliptown - “C a r e f u l h e r e . Watch out there. The earth is live,” warned Kabelo as he moved through the narrow alleyways. Kabelo and his partner, John, are just two of the many “street electricians” using their qualifications and experience to cash in on households, small businesses and residents across Johannesburg, offering them cheap electricity. Cheaper electricity in this instance of course means stolen. Kabelo and John are always on
They charge a flat rate of R200 as a connection fee. There are even “maintenance fees” ranging from between R50 to R100 a month, and there is a cost for replacing wires if these are burnt. Despite the dangers that they pose, illegal connections and the tampering with or bypassing of power meters remain the choice of many residents and businesses to access electricity. Some are motivated by the need to have access to electricity, others
Whatever the reason given to justify this criminal behaviour, the fact remains that it’s a breeding ground for criminals to “build their businesses” and cash in on this practice. It is a crime that has become a societal norm, but has a dire impact on fair competition in business and agriculture, puts innocent lives at risk, and interrupts the power supply that must keep the wheels of the economy turning. The crime is not unique to informal settlements and townships. It affects suburbs, businesses and farms, where the theft is more difficult to detect and requires a trained eye to spot the carefully call when residents and businesses claim poverty, and some are purely t a m p e r e d m e t e r s a n d t r a n s f o r m e r s . need to connect electricity or fix a m o t i v a t e d b y g r e e d t o r e a p m o r e A campaign is under way to combat malfunctioning illegal line. electricity theft and is in hot pursuit profits for their businesses.
of perpetrators like Kabelo, John and their customers. The mission of Operation Khanyisa is to mobilise all South Africans to become legal, safe and efficient power users. The campaign’s approach is not only to address culprits, but also get law-abiding citizens to acknowledge their responsibility and inspire them to take action against electricity theft. Operation Khanyisa has teamed up with Crime Line to provide a platform for South Africans to report electricity theft anonymously. By sending a detailed SMS to 32211 (R1/SMS) South Africans can help combat electricity theft. To join the campaign visit operationkhanyisa.co.za, like facebook.com/Operation.Khanyisa or follow twitter.com/@Op_Khanyisa. For more info e-mail:info@ operationkhanyisa.co.za
DIAL *228466# (ACTION) FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ELECTRICITY THEFT.
IF YOU COULD SPEAK OUT, WHY WOULDN’T YOU? REPORT ELECTRICITY THEFT ANONYMOUSLY. SMS 32211
( R1/SMS )
THE POWER IS IN YOUR HANDS. operationkhanyisa.co.za