Use of unregistered electrical contractors is illegal

Unregistered pirate entrepreneurs simply ignore these obligations. Do people who hire pirate electrical contractors realize that their choice of electrician – usually based on price – can have deadly consequences? Or that the electrical installation can be dangerous but, due to the latent nature of some electrical faults, the danger may not be immediately apparent?

Using an unregistered electrician is not only illegal, it can also invalidate insurance coverage, and in the event of an electrical fire, the insurer can refuse to pay any claims if the CoC for the property has been issued. fraudulently by a hacker contractor and / or is invalid and up to date to include any modifications that may have been made to the electrical installation.

If a claim was rejected by the insurer, a civil action against the pirate contractor would be futile.
Cecil Lancaster, Regional Director of ECA (SA) in the Bosveld region – says that although the average homeowner does not read or even know the electrical installation regulations, in South African law the rule “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” (“Ignorantia juris non excusat”) is applied. That’s the bad news. There is no good news.


In South Africa, pirate electrical contractors who operate without being legally registered appear to do so with impunity. No one I know in this industry has heard of anyone who has been convicted of doing electrical work illegally. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen!

Clause 6 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993 (incorporated into the Electrical Installations Regulation) states that “no one may perform electrical work as a contractor. electricity unless you have been registered as an electrical contractor in terms of these regulations ”.

There is nothing ambiguous about this; but does the punishment for operating without being registered really correspond to the crime? The offenses and penalties provided for in Article 15 of the Electrical Installation Regulations (2009) state that any person who does not comply with the regulations “shall be guilty of an offense and liable, upon conviction, to an offense. fine or imprisonment for up to 12 months. and, in the case of a continuing offense, to an additional fine of R200.00 for each day in which the offense continues.

I think that could very well be part of the problem. It’s just a slap on the wrist compared to other countries. In New York, the criminal penalties for performing electrical work without a license were recently increased by
$ 5,000 to $ 25,000 and the maximum jail term of six months to one year. In Queensland, Australia, DIY electrical work is considered unauthorized electrical work, which is illegal and carries penalties of up to $ 40,000 for individuals.

An offense that puts an individual at risk of death, serious injury or illness carries a maximum penalty of $ 600,000 for an individual and $ 3,000,000 for a corporation or five years in prison.

Typically, homeowners are not sure whether electrical work being done on their properties is legal or not, as they don’t know much about electrical installations and Electrical Certificates of Conformity (CoC), and this ignorance makes them vulnerable and vulnerable. at risk – open to exploitation by pirate electrical contractors.

Using an ECA member electrical contractor is a smart move, because although not all electrical contractors are members of the ECA (SA), all ECA members are registered electrical contractors. – and their work is covered by the ECA manufacturing warranty.

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Patricia D. Rutt