South Africa 20.9.2015 01:18 pm

Joburg plagued by electricity meter thefts

FILE PICTURE: File photo. New electricity metering equipment is seen following a press conference by City Power. Picture: Michel Bega

FILE PICTURE: File photo. New electricity metering equipment is seen following a press conference by City Power. Picture: Michel Bega

City Power has appealed to Johannesburg residents to refrain from buying electricity meters from unauthorised sellers as they would be supporting the illegal trade of stolen meters.

The utilities provider revealed that currently plagued by the rampant theft of electricity meters, and many of these units have found their way into residents’ homes via the black market, North Eastern Tribune reported.

“The procurement of stolen infrastructure is not a victimless crime as it creates a ready market for stolen property and fuels the black market in stolen electricity meters,” managing director Sicelo Xulu said.

Xulu warned residents of random audits of meters across Johannesburg, and households with meters found to have been procured illegally would face criminal prosecution.

He said buying meters from unauthorised dealers renders residents complicit in the crime of theft.

“The law explicitly states that anyone found in possession of equipment and goods that were procured illegally is in possession of stolen property and, therefore, liable for criminal prosecution.”

He added that theft of meters and other forms of infrastructure hampered the utility’s ability to provide accurate billing, quality services to residents and contributed to increased tariffs and prices for ordinary South Africans.

“Besides the cost of replacing the infrastructure and damaged equipment, it interferes with the delivery of other essential services. Cable theft is conservatively estimated to cost the South African economy about R5 billion a year directly and indirectly,” Xulu said.

He also welcomed the proposed changes to the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill 2015 which seeks to impose more stringent sentences to suspects convicted of cable theft.

– Caxton News Service

 

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