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Vlakfontein informal dwellers willing to pay for power if legally connected

City Power raided the area along with police and disconnected dozens of homes that had plugged into the grid illegally.

FILE: City Power officials on 3 June 2020 disconnected illegal electricity connections at Phumula Mqashi informal settlement in Vlakfontein. The officials were joined by JMPD and SAPS officers. Picture: @CityPowerJhb/Twitter.

VLAKFONTEIN - Residents of an informal settlement just outside Vlakfontein on Wednesday said they were willing to pay for power, but in the absence of infrastructure, they would continue with illegal connections.

City Power raided the area along with police and disconnected dozens of homes that had plugged into the grid illegally. Vlakfontein is one of the communities that contributed to the R2 billion loss incurred by the power utility as a result of these dodgy connections.

Phumula Mqashi is an informal settlement just next to Vlakfontein.

The community was initially for people who could not afford to pay rent at places of living around Lenasia south and decided to erect shacks in a field.

The people have been living in the area for over three years without proper sanitation, water, or electricity.

One resident said he did not want to buy power illegally, but he had no choice.

“We know it’s wrong but because of the situation we live in, we ended up doing this. We have kids and we want to buy food and keep in our fridges, but we can’t do this now because we don’t have electricity,” he said.

The people of Phumula Mqashi called on government to formally supply power to them so they could stop being demonised by their neighbours.

Meanwhile, City Power said it would carry out more raids in the near future to cut illegal electric connections in Joburg.

“We will come unannounced to conduct operations such as these where there is a huge mushrooming of illegal connections,” said City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena.