Du Noon residents who own RDP houses on the edge of the township are doing a brisk business selling illegal electricity to people in the adjacent Doornbach informal settlement. But the web of wires hang so low across the busy Potsdam road separating the RDP houses from the squatter camp that they often get snapped by passing trucks.
This results in live wires lying on the ground, posing a danger to pedestrians and animals.
Community leader and police reservist Alice Sokopha, 51, on the weekend said that recently seven-year-old Emihle Stoyile was badly shocked by a live wire which had been snapped by a passing truck.
Sokopha said Stoyile was crossing Potsdam road on her way home from Doornbach when she was shocked.
She said Stoyile sustained minor injuries on her right leg and had to be treated at a local clinic.
The situation has been going on for at least ten years as Doornbach was situated on privately-owned land, making it difficult for authorities to provide electricity or other services to the area.
Doornbach resident Faith Daniso, 33, said she had been buying electricity from the RDP houses since she moved there ten years ago.
Daniso said Doornbach residents formed groups of ten or five people and buy electricity from an RDP house for a monthly fee of between R50 and R100 each.
But she said the voltage was so low that they could only run one electrical appliance at a time.
“We don’t like these things but we are forced to because we are staying on a private owned land.”
Attempts to get a comment from owners of RDP houses involved in selling electricity proved fruitless as they feared jeopardising their business.
Eskom Western Cape communications manager Jolen Henn said they had tried to stop illegal connections through “numerous education sessions” in Du Noon and other communities, but it did not seem to work.
Henn said wiring to illegal connection was often un-insulated and ran across floors or pathways and the wires were not earthed, meaning anyone who touched them would be shocked.
She said this could result in injury or even death, particularly for children or animals. She said Eskom “continuously removed” illegal wiring but it was reconnected immediately after their technicians left the scene.
Table View Police Station Commissioner senior superintendent Sharon Govender confirmed that the illegal connections hanging over Potsdam road were cause for concern.
The City of Cape Town said the Doornbach informal settlement was not in its jurisdiction.