Angry residents have taken to the streets in Alexandra, Johannesburg, burning tyres and throwing debris onto the streets following a stand-off with city officials trying to undo illegal electricity connections.

The area faces a major housing delivery backlog with some of the city’s largest informal settlements exacerbated by the mushrooming of new ones.

The City of Johannesburg has been grappling with the issue at an escalating rate this year.

Last week, the metro’s power utility City Power intervened when residents of a hijacked building illegally connected to the grid from the local transformer. Despite this, the illegal connections were up the next day, according to business owners in the area.

Protests on London Road in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, as crowds blockade an operation to remove illegal electricity connections in the area on 18 February 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney

City Power says it loses about R2 billion annually due to non-technical loses which include illegal connections.

The utility has also seen an increase in vandalism of our infrastructure and theft of cables, with some sold at scrap yards but others used to reconnect illegally to our network.

READ NEXT: PICS: City Power battles angry mob as it cuts illegal connections

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