‘Electricity surcharge could result in more illegal connections’


Connect Radio News
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Community leaders in Diepsloot fear that more people might resort to stealing electricity, as the tariff increases and surcharges could drive more residents to resorting to illegal electricity connections.

Known colloquially as “zama zama” or “illegal hooks”….They not only pose safety risks but also perpetuate the cycle of poverty and inequality.

The compulsory surcharge of 230-Rand monthly may be a significant burden for many households and has now led to the push back from communities.

Diepsloot Community leader Sicelo Shezi states that the majority of residents in Diepsloot purchase their electricity directly from Eskom. However, the recent tariff hikes have had a significant impact on the community, as residents are now forced to pay higher rates than before.

He says this increase may drive some individuals to seek illegal connections as a more affordable alternative.

“The increase of this 13% will hit the pocket and cause the residents of Johannesburg alot in particular Diepsloot. If you think of the elderly people who are getting pension, public servants and just ordinary public, the high employment rate that we are facing in this country will increase illegal connections of electricity of which it is something that discourages me as the leader of this area.”

The recent tariff hikes have disproportionately affected elderly citizens, who struggle to make ends meet with their limited government assistance.

The meager support they receive is insufficient to cover their expenses, worsening their financial hardship. Small businesses have been forced to shut down due to the proliferation of illegal electricity connections.

The community has voiced their concerns and frustrations over this dire situation.

“The R230 which was out I will hit me even harder, because all that comes from a package of R2000, I must pay, I must buy food, I must pay the electricity which is going to cost me more than I was before. It will just hit me alot.”

“I was selling coldrink, kota and chips but now I am closed because there is no electricity. So now I am selling matches and candles.”

Energy Expert Sampson Mamphweli attributes the significant tariff hikes to, among other factors, the widespread phenomenon of backyard dwellers who bypass paying for electricity.

He emphasizes that both the dwellers and their landlords must take responsibility by applying to their respective municipalities for formal electricity connections, which would ensure a safe and legal supply of power for all parties involved.

“The backyards dwellers together with their hosts are supposed to approach the municipalities for them to get proper connections in their backyards. The backyards dwellers are not stealing electricity they are still buying through the main house.”

Mamphweli has encouraged individuals to explore alternative methods to reduce their electricity consumption and alleviate the financial burden of relying solely on Eskom.





2 hours ago