Eskom on Thursday requested the help of the public to bring to book electricity thieves who are allegedly responsible for the deaths of 29 people and for the serious injuries suffered by 82 others in Kwazulu-Natal over the past three years.
Eskom said the deaths and injuries were as a result of illegal electricity connections and other forms of electricity theft.
In a statement, Eskom KwaZulu-Natal GM Monde Bala said electricity theft remained one of the least reported crimes despite the fact that an alarmingly high number of people, pets and livestock were killed every year as a result of illegal connections, improper house wiring, cable theft and low hanging conductors.
“South Africans are a passionate people who have in the past rallied to the aid of those who might not be able to defend themselves. We can see this today in the fight against atrocities such as rhino poaching,” Bala said.
“However, we are yet to see a similar display of passion and activism in the fight against electricity theft, a crime which, year after year, claims the lives of innocent people in many communities across the country.”
Bala urged residents rising to the call to take an active stand against this crime by reporting suspected acts of electricity or cable theft to Operation Khanyisa.
Operation Khanyisa is an Eskom-led campaign aimed at fighting electricity theft and tip-offs can be sent anonymously via SMS to 32211.
According to Bala, the campaign has led to numerous arrests of electricity-theft suspects and more than 25 cases on the court roll in the last three years.
“It is clear that more needs to be done to combat electricity theft. But we cannot win this battle on our own. We need the public’s assistance to bring to book not only those responsible for the 29 deaths in KZN, but also those who need to account for similar incidents in other parts of the country,” Bala said.
“Do the right thing and report electricity theft. Your simple SMS could mean the difference between life and death for someone.”