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The City of Cape Town’s Electricity Services Department continues to face an uphill battle with the vast amount of electricity tampering and cable theft that occurs in City-supplied areas across the metro and which costs Cape Town greatly. The City calls on all residents to help stop this scourge. 


Over the past financial year to date, the City has dealt with nearly 6 000 cases of electricity tampering and 3 000 cable theft cases. Accounts were adjusted to the value of some R164 million after it was found that customers had tampered with infrastructure to get electricity without paying for it. This excludes R31 million worth of contravention notices issued.

In the City’s supply areas in Cape Town, there are very clear hotspots where theft occurs. Currently the areas with the biggest concentration of this illegal activity are Joe Slovo in Milnerton, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Philippi West and Weltevreden Valley.However, it should be noted that tampering with electricity meters occurs right across the city. Illegal connections mainly occur either where there has not been an application for additional connections on a property or when informal settlements are on land where the provision of electricity is not possible due to circumstances such as land ownership challenges, wetlands, and densities, among others.

Electricity tampering occurs when a person interferes with the City’s electricity metering equipment in order to pay less or not at all for electricity. This illegal activity results in faulty meters across the city, while the continual cable theft damages electricity infrastructure and causes power supply disruptions to various communities on a regular basis.

‘This illegal activity has so many repercussions for the City as a whole, as we have to account for the increased cost of repairs following vandalism of the infrastructure and the associated overtime to effect repairs, not to mention the actual human resources required to do individual disconnections. This all adds to the cost of supplying electricity. Furthermore, it’s a complete waste of City resources and takes away from other service delivery responsibilities.

‘Cable theft leaves our communities in darkness, puts our residents at risk of electric shock, and allows criminals to operate more easily, so we are truly appealing to all members of the public to assist us by reporting any suspicious activities near electricity infrastructure or providing any leads on electricity tampering. Every bit of help to curb this extreme waste of City resources will make a difference,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

Tampering and illegal connections are disadvantaging those customers who diligently pay for their electricity consumption as these losses artificially increase the electricity tariffs. Residents are encouraged to please report any suspicious activities near the electricity infrastructure to the City’s Metals Theft Unit on 0800 222 771.

Faulty streetlights and electricity theft and outages can be reported to the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089, by SMS to 31220, or by email to

The City is asking all members of the public to assist us to drive the message that tampering is not acceptable. In line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, awareness initiatives are underway across the metro calling on residents to help fight this scourge.

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