The occupants of a hijacked building in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, have failed in their high court application against City Power to have their illegal electricity connection and other municipal services restored.
They took the City of Joburg took court demanding free electricity.
However, the Johannesburg High Court ruled the City “has no obligation to provide municipal services to a hijacked building”.
City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava has lauded the judgement and vowed to intensify the clampdown on buildings and businesses that are illegally connected to the City’s network and stealing electricity.
“We welcome this court ruling which comes at a time when we are ramping up our revenue collection efforts. Illegally connecting electricity is theft and should be treated as such.”
“The actions of those who hijack buildings are not different to the illegal connectors in most informal and formal settlements, and defaulters who have bypassed meters, or deliberately neglect to pay for electricity, which stifles our recovery efforts in term of revenue,” she said.
Billions owed to City Power
Mashava said City Power has a huge debt due to non-payment by customers.
“We are sitting at about R8 billion debt owed by customers across the City of Joburg. Over half of that is sitting with businesses and government departments. We have already started visiting those and have cut off several of them, and we will continue to cut their supply until we recover the last cent.”
“Most of City Power debt is sitting within the Inner-City Service Delivery Centre(SDC) at around R3 billion, with over R1 billion shared among households and government departments, and the rest is with businesses and large power users,” she said.
City Power said it has ramped up its revenue collection efforts, with the Mashava ordering all the Service Delivery Centres (Depots) in the regions, to go after those who owe the entity for electricity usage.
“These includes customers who can afford to pay but are not paying including businesses, and government departments.”
The utility said the SDCs will each dedicate one week a month to conduct blitz operations around their supply areas to collect the revenue owed to the utility.