Illegal electrical connections pose fire risks in Cape Town

Illegal electrical connections in Cape Town, South Africa, pose a number of fire risks according to local government officials.

Cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, etc, are plagued by gangs using dilapidated buildings to house immigrants and job-seekers who have nowhere else to go.

This alone means hundreds to thousands of at-risk individuals, requiring heat, water and electricity. Recently, government officials in Cape Town have reported about illegal electrical connections, saying the situation is “spiralling out of control” in an official statement.

When government workers attempt to correct the flow of electricity, residents are quick to reconnect illegal connections.

“We have been talking to the City to legally electrify our homes but they say we are living on private land and they cannot connect us, that is why we are connecting illegally.” says one resident.

However, vulnerable people living dangerously, mostly off of known registers and within tight proximity to each other, means they are particularly susceptible to an electrical fire, as a result of these improper connections.

Unable to move past each other in a panic, and with government officials not knowing of their movements or accurate location, these individuals are extremely likely to be overlooked in a fire scenario.

The tight living situation also begs for increased issues related to smoke inhalation.

In the 2022-23 financial year the City had dismantled more than 900 illegal connections, mostly in the southern and northern city, the number is expected to be higher between 2023-2024.


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