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Oukasi residents live on the edge

Eskom held a media tour in Oukasie township, Northwest. The purpose of the tour was to create awareness in the intense impacts of illegal electricity in South Africa. Eskom pleads with the media to convey the message of electricity theft, vandalism, tempering of meters and buying electricity from ghost vendors.

Approximately more than half of Oukasie residents rely on illegal supply of electricity that they get from surrounding bond houses. Thus the challenges faced by Eskom is that there are residents who take electricity supply directly from the transmitters, which is very dangerous.

Illegal electricity in Oukasie is as a result of informal settlements, which result in residents dreading to apply for legal electricity. Speaking to Temba Mokagane he said they are connected in a bond house box in which thy have to pay R300 every month for electricity supply. Although there are low-hanging electrical equipment and wires/cables which can result in serious or fatal injuries, Temba was adamant that no one lost their life or sustained serious burns after being electrocuted in the area. However he admitted that the life they were living is very dangerous.

There are awareness within the community of legal electricity but residents are ignorant towards the information. Alex Stramrood, Eskom’s Corporate occupational health and safety operations manager said it is vital for parents and guardians to educate themselves and their children about not touching or playing anywhere near electrical structures, cables or wires, as has been instances where children have been injured after touching such structures.

Above all else, in the years 2016/17 there has been 6 fatalities and 10 injuries caused by electricity therefore residents are always encouraged to consider all equipment, lines and conductors to be energized and be cautious when they notice downed wires or damaged electrical equipment.

Author

Lebogang Molefe

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