The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is contemplating removing communities and businesses from its electricity grid due to safety concerns for its officials. City employees frequently encounter attacks, threats, robberies, obstructions, and refusals when trying to read meters or disconnect properties with illegal municipal service connections.
In September alone, over 2,600 customers in problematic areas collectively owing more than R464.5 million for water services prevented the city from accessing their meters. An additional 323 customers with debts exceeding R46.6 million intimidated or obstructed Johannesburg Water Meter readers.
In the same month, City Power technicians faced intimidation from 143 customers owing more than R71.3 million for electricity. These customers repeatedly and blatantly reconnect themselves to services after disconnection and refuse cooperation with the city.
City officials’ safety is of utmost importance, and the city is determined to combat lawlessness and actions that jeopardise their lives. They warn residents that electricity and water meters are city property. The city may resort to criminal charges, arrests, hefty fines, and immediate disconnections for those illegally connecting to services.
The city plans to intensify its disconnection efforts against illegal connections and reconnections, involving multiple city departments to strengthen its operations. Customers wishing to arrange payments can contact the city’s Credit Control Department through email.
This approach signifies the city’s resolve to collect all outstanding dues while prioritising the safety of its employees.
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Photo: Supplied by Southern Courier