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2011-06-30: Strong action promised against "criminals responsible for cable theft and illegal connections"

JOHANNESBURG will take stronger action against cable thieves and people responsible for illegal electricity connections.

Clr Ros Greeff, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure and the Environment says cable theft and illegal connections are major causes of power outages in the city resulting in severe disruptions in the lives of residents and loss of income to many small and emerging businesses.

"We have to combat the perception that those responsible for illegal connections are heroes in society - modern day 'Robin Hoods' who take from the rich and give to the poor," she says.

"The fact is that they are stealing from law-abiding rate payers who are prepared to pay for the services they receive. Their reckless actions put the lives and livelihoods of thousands of ordinary Joburgers in danger."

MMC Greeff says people also need to recognise "that cable theft is a crime - and those responsible for stealing copper cables and disrupting our power network are criminals who should be dealt with by the law." She called on city residents to support efforts to deal decisively with the issue of cable theft.

The decision to combine the portfolios of environment and infrastructure demonstrates the importance of environmental issues for the future of Johannesburg.

According to MMC Greeff:

City Power must be transformed from being merely an electricity utility and distributor on behalf of Eskom to become a fully-fledged "power company" introducing alternative generation technology such as solar, wind and other renewable sources into the City's grid.
Joburg Water will strengthen its focus on demand-side measures to reduce the unacceptable high volumes of water lost in the system every day
Separation of waste at source will in future no longer be an option, but a necessity for Johannesburg. Pikitup will accelerate its pilot projects in this regard and from here it will be introduced throughout the city.
Those responsible for illegal dumping and the pollution of rivers, streams, lakes and other water resources must expect the law to catch up with them. The City will take strong action against serial polluters and ensure that they are held accountable for their crimes against the environment.
MMC Greeff says the city welcomes the recent report on acid mine drainage by the Mine Water Research Group at the University of North West.

"We trust that it will lead to a more balanced and informed debate on a very emotive issue while the City supports the efforts from national and provincial governments together with environmental organisations to find long-term solutions," she says.


Issued by:
Nthatisi Modingoane
Deputy Director: Communications
City of Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 407 7354
Fax: 403 3494
Cell: 082 467 9228