By Everson Luhanga
Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers were attacked by an angry group of people in Kliptown, Soweto on Wednesday as they tried to cut off illegal electricity connections.
A JMPD branded vehicle was damaged by the mob when City Power officials who were accompanied by both JMPD and SAPS were disconnecting izinyokanyoka.
In a video shared with Scrolla.Africa, an angry group of residents is seen pelting stones at the car at close range.
Carrying stones and sticks the crowd is heard cheering at the actions of the mob attacking the authorities.
JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla told Scrolla.Africa: “We can confirm this incident. It happened yesterday (Wednesday) when JMPD officers were part of an illegal electricity connection cut-off operation in Kliptown, Soweto together with SAPS and City Power officials.’’
He said the community in the area retaliated, fighting against the removal of the illegal connections. A JMPD-marked vehicle was stoned during the incident. “None of our officers were injured,” he said.
Fihla said a case of public violence was opened at Kliptown Police Atation for investigation and no one had been arrested.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the city condemned the actions of Kliptown residents.
“As a revenue protection department, we embarked on a joint operation with some law enforcement agencies including JMPD and SAPS to remove a spider web of illegally connected electric wires. The officials managed to remove 8,000 kg of City Power aluminium electric cables worth over R250,000,” he said.
He said the illegal connection of electricity is unsafe and puts lives, especially of children, in danger.
And, he added, the city loses millions of rands through illegal power connections.
In recent months City Power has declared war against those who are connecting electricity illegally and those who are not paying for the service.
Mangena however said the entity is now considering electrifying informal settlements and installing smart meters to lessen the pressure of illegal power connections.
He said the process will require the cooperation of the residents and officials.