By Kaya 959 Reporter
Nine Eskom workers were evacuated from Mabopane after they were held against their will by angry residents.
It is believed that residents at Morula View demanded that workers replace a mini substation in the area.
In a statement, Eskom said it has experienced high incidents of equipment failure due to illegal connections, unauthorised operations on the network, meter bypasses and tampering and infrastructure vandalism.
The staff members were freed following the intervention of local law enforcement. Eskom has condemned the residents’ behaviour.
Eskom employees held hostage by the community of Morula View, Mabopane have been safely evacuated by law enforcement agencies. This was due to delays caused by mini-substation shortages faced by Eskom. Such criminal acts are condemned.
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) September 13, 2021
In June last year, Eskom staff were held hostage and forced to restore illegal connections in Zonkizizwe.
News24 reported that Eskom had been implementing load reduction in various high-density areas to prevent overloading.
Eskom said these areas were plagued with issues due to illegal connections, vandalism of infrastructure and meters being bypassed.
At the time, an Eskom spokesperson said two technicians were kidnapped by residents and forced to restore a transformer. The transformer had been shut down following illegal connections and non-payment.
The spokesperson said the men managed to escape after being held hostage for about an hour.
Eskom warns against illegal connections
Eskom has issued a number of warnings, urging residents not to connect electricity illegally.
“Doing this poses great risk as it overloads the system, which often causes the power connection to trip or fail, meaning no one in the area would have electricity. It can also cause a fire,” it said.
Eskom said another problem with illegal connections is that when Eskom does electricity connections in your community, they look at how much electricity is needed by the number of homes and a certain number of people per home in the area.
“When you connect illegally, you draw from the same equipment which was meant for a certain number of households, resulting in the equipment being overloaded and the system failing/tripping,” Eskom officials said.
It has also lead to a number of deaths. In February, five people died after stepping on illegally connected electrical wires.