A 17-year-old boy has tragically died while trying to fix an illegal power connection.

According to the victim’s friend, he climbed onto the poles holding up a transformer and while trying to switch on the electricity supply, he was electrocuted. The teenager was declared dead by medics who arrived on scene.

Now outraged community members say Mark Smit’s death should be an eye-opener for the City of Cape Town and government who have denied them electricity for 30 years.

They say this is the second child who has been electrocuted in recent years.

Yesterday, Mark was hailed a hero by residents of Jim se Bos informal settlement in Olieboom Road, Philippi, where the incident happened.

Mark’s shocked ouma, Audrey Heshew, 60, rushed to the scene.

“I was at work when they said he had shocked to death, he was just 17 years old,” she says.

The teen’s dad, William Heshew, 39, says his son died a hero.

“He was helping the Jim se Bos community to get electricity when he died.”

Committee member Amanda Stuurman lays the blame on government.

“We have been waiting for 30 years for electricity. We have to use candles and paraffin or steal electricity.”

Philippi Police Station Commander, Colonel Dennis Abels, explains: “The deceased died while trying to fix an illegal connection to the main power supply next to the road.”

The City’s Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, warned mense not to steal krag, and says residents should speak to the land owner.

“Jim se Bos and the Egoli informal settlement are both situated on private land and cannot be electrified [by the City],” he says.

He said electricity theft is affecting power supply to neighbouring communities on a regular basis.

“We urge the public to always steer clear of electricity infrastructure,” he adds.