Next-door neighbour kills toddler!

Paramedics were called to the scene only to discover that the child could not be revived. Outraged members of the Diepsloot community blamed the child’s neighbour for her death. It is believed she had played close to an illegally connected electrical wire leading to the neighbour’s shack.

“This is an incident that could have been avoided, if only we as a community did not connect electricity illegally and exposed those who do so. We need to take action,” the local pastor said.

This is not an isolated case.

Eskom reported 34 deaths in the 2011/12 financial year, most of them innocent men, women and children who died as a result of illegal connections. In Philippi in the Western Cape, just a week before Christmas, a nine-year-old boy was electrocuted and died after stepping on an illegally connected wire. His death prompted members of the community to cut all illegal connections in the area and they called for electricity to be supplied legally to the area.

In one of the most tragic cases, a school in KwaZulu-Natal is reported to have lost eight pupils to electricity theft.

Teachers at Mayville Primary School said all the students had died after coming into contact with exposed wires from illegal electricity connections rigged up by residents of a neighbouring informal settlement. 

The wires were connected to the school power supply. When teachers turned off the power in a desperate attempt to save lives, they were threatened at gunpoint by angry residents demanding that the power be turned back on.

A national campaign is under way to prevent electricity theft and save young lives.

Operation Khanyisa is a movement that works to mobilise, inspire, empower and encourage all South Africans to join the fight against electricity theft and to use electricity legally, safely and efficiently.

Through building awareness, education, sharing information and developing supporting tools and elements, Operation Khanyisa aims to enlighten citizens with the right information around electricity theft, and to help curb the loss of innocent lives.

Using various platforms, Operation Khanyisa empowers business and residential communities through talks, workshops, talent competitions, school activities and door-to-door visits.

Communities have been called upon to rally behind the cause and set up block committees to deal with illegal connections and other forms of electricity theft. Both business and residential organisations have been asked to ensure that electricity theft is an agenda item at meetings.


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