An analysis of electricity theft : the case study of KwaXimba in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.
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The illegal consumption of electricity is deemed a criminal offence that is punishable. Even so, there exist high levels of theft of electricity till date. Illegal electricity can be dangerous in nature due to the nature of its installation. These connections are done by non-expert persons and some of the safety precautions are not followed through. As a result, communities suffer the consequences. This study intended to identify the motivations behind the illegal consumption of electricity in the KwaXimba community. An investigation is also done on what are the effects of the theft of electricity on the community. This was a deliberate attempt to uncover whether communities are aware of such dangers. Eskom is aware of such and has a number of preventative measures against the theft of electricity, in place. This study aimed to investigate, the strategies in place in an attempt to curb electricity theft. This study investigated the illegal connections of electricity in KwaXimba. The main objective of the study was to determine the major cause of electricity theft in KwaXimba, the approaches implemented to reduce the rise in electricity theft moreover, it aimed to evaluate the effects electricity theft has on electricity supply and the community. In order to achieve this, the qualitative approaches were used. Interviews were conducted on participants that were purposively selected. The data was then analysed thematically. Findings of this study revealed that the issue of electricity theft in the community was a structural issue. The issue of theft is normalised within the community. The study revealed that individuals steal electricity based on personal decisions and preferences. Another factor was that it is acceptable to steal electricity in the community. The minority of the members stole electricity because they had bought houses that had readily stolen electricity. The researcher deduced some recommendations from the study, for one, an electrification program should be made to save both Eskom Revenue from illegal consumption and to save the lives of the community members especially the vulnerable group, children who fall victims to exposed cables. Also, organisations such as community safety and Eskom should formulate programs that are aimed towards de-normalising the act of electricity theft in the community of KwaXimba and across other communities.