Operation Khanyisa

CHALLENGE: Electricity theft is costing the country billions of rands every year. Electricity is the third most stolen commodity, following credit card information and vehicle theft. Operation Khanyisa is one of the largest and most complex behavioural change campaigns carried out in SA in recent years. “Khanyisa” is a Zulu word that means to enlighten, explain and to light up. The campaign was unique in that it utilised bespoke communication approaches together with customer compliance approach through national prosecution to implement a successful behaviour change strategy.

Eskom is already recognised internationally for its achievements in combating energy losses. Operation Khanyisa was launched in October 2010 to reduce and prevent electricity theft. However, this was not the typical Eskom media campaign. Electricity theft is not just an Eskom problem, it is a national problem too. Operation Khanyisa was therefore launched as a national partnership campaign.

The campaign targets all power users and seeks to debunk the myth that electricity theft is a “township” or “poor people’s” problem. The campaign was unique in that it made use of a wide array of methods and platforms and implemented a behavioural change strategy. In addition to the traditional advertising and public relations tactics, it also makes use of a community-based form of social mobilisation, partner activations and an enforcement programme.