Ticking time bomb

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Old, unlocked electricity boxes pose dangerous threat in Breidbach

RESIDENTS have expressed grave concern over the state of dilapidated and open electricity boxes in Breidbach, and are up in arms with the Buffalo City Municipality over the situation.

HIGHLY DANGEROUS: Brenda Jantjies points to one of the many open electrical boxes in Breidbach that children often tamper with Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

A visit to various streets in the community revealed that most electrical boxes’ lids were missing or were not locked.

Joints in wires were also found to be uncovered, and padlocks to lock the boxes were also missing, making it easy for anyone to tamper with the boxes.

Residents said this dangerous situation was an open invitation for disaster.

“These open electrical boxes are dangerous to all of us, especially to our children whom I always have to keep away from the boxes [as they may be electrocuted],” said Brenda Jantjies, who lives close to the Breidbach Sports Grounds.

Another resident, Glynnice Bester, discovered that her electricity supply was cut, and thought it was BCM.

“For about four hours we waited for the power to return and after some enquiries with neighbours, we found that it was only our electricity which was cut,” Bester said.

“My husband investigated and discovered that the switch was off at the open electrical box close to our home.

“This is really not on because we have put rocks there to keep the doors closed but it’s not helping at all,” she said.

A more serious incident occurred after thugs used the opportunity to their advantage and broke into MJ Sports Bar, situated in the centre of Breidbach.

Frustrated MJ Sports Bar owner Mornè Taai said the burglars knew that the alarm at his business would not work if there was no power.

“They broke into my place after disconnecting the electricity at the box and helped themselves to some of the liquor.

“I did open a case of housebreaking and theft but I am very disappointed with the authorities that the break-in happened due to their stubbornness and lack of interest in keeping our community safe,” said Taai, who warned that the open boxes were “like a time bomb waiting to explode”.

A child walks past a rusted and broken down electricity box

A senior citizen, Kate Hendricks, said: “Kids are always taking me for a fool by switching off my electricity at the box in the street. This is really not safe as they are playing with fire and gambling not only with their lives but with the lives of other innocent residents.”

Former ward committee member for the area Desmond Coetzee said the situation with the open boxes was reported to the previous ward councillor long before the new councillor took office.

“Councillor Leon Mentoor, in my presence at his office, reported the matter and I always followed up with no response,” Coetzee said. 

“The excuse that one of the electricians gave me while working on a challenge in Breidbach was that the order for padlocks was submitted but he could not tell me exactly when it would be delivered,” Coetzee said.

Ward Councillor Sixolisiwe Ntsasela told the Go that the matter would receive urgent attention. “This matter is serious and will be attended to urgently as soon as the addresses of the homes close to the boxes reach my office,” Ntsasela said.

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