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BCM up against Izinyoka

Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality assembled a team to locate and remove illegal electrical connections on Woolwash Road near Scenery Park, on January 19.

The Raid Team consisted of BCM Law Enforcement, SAPS and Engineering Department.

Eastern Cape Rising Sun accompanied the officials on the raid and experienced first-hand the hostility of the situation.

Makeshift poles with illegal connections just before you get under the bridge greeted the Raid Team and the engineers immediately got to work, cutting the cables.

Residents warned each other by blowing whistles while the engineers were busy cables. Fortunately for everyone, the situation did not escalate into violence.

The Raid Team then proceeded to the heart of the squatter camps, where stolen transformers were suspected to have been installed, cutting more illegal cables along the way.

The raid yielded results when two transformers were found. One was hidden beneath an old rug, while the other was kept high up in a makeshift shack. The transformers were dismantled.

A possible third stolen transformer appeared to have been removed before the Team arrived.

All the illegal cables that were found and cut were taken away.

As a journalist, fresh out of university, I was nervous when asked to cover this assignment. But my safety was assured with the presence of Law Enforcement and the SAPS.

It was sad to see people living in such conditions, however, illegal electric connections are very dangerous. As we walked through the bush, we were asked not to go too far as cables lie lose around and if stepped on, one can be seriously injured or even die from, as there have been cases of such reports where innocent children and residents fall victim to being electrocuted to death by illegal connections.

One of the engineers got hurt while dismantling the transformers. Although the injuries were minor, seeing a professional bleed showed the danger of dealing with illegal electric connection.

BCM Spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya, said, “Over the past two years, BCM has recorded a total of 303 vandalism/theft cases occurring on the electrical network and whereby the city has suffered a direct financial loss of over R26 million due to these essential infrastructure crimes.”

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