Blackouts in Copesville

2011-05-12 00:00

WHILE the community of Triumph Road in Copesville are facing the serious challenge of regular electricity blackouts, which have persisted since October last year, the Msunduzi Municipality says that the problem is difficult to handle because their employees get shot at and have stones thrown at them by shack dwellers.

A community member who asked to remain unnamed for fear of being attacked, said that informal settlement dwellers have made their lives a living hell because when they come back home from work they have electricity outages from 7 pm until the next morning. “We report this matter to the municipality and they would come to reconnect the electricity that has been illegally connected to feed our neighbouring informal settlement,” she said.

She said during the day they do not have the problem, but in the evening they experience the same thing. The source said they have informed the municipality on several occasions with no permanent solution.

“What is frustrating is that we get a hefty electricity bill at the end of the month when we only have electricity during the day,” she said. She added the they are paying their lights bills for nothing because they do not get the service.

“This is affecting my grandchild who suffers from asthma because I can not use the nebulizer without electricity,” she added.

Another source said the same thing is happening at Balhambra way.

“When we call the municipality their staff have to come with their security guards because if they do not, they get sworn at and have stones thrown at them by the informal settlement dwellers found at the corner of Balambra way and Bombay road,” he said.

He said yesterday morning the shack dwellers placed a burning tyre around the electricity box and as a result of that their lights have been out since 7 am and they do not know when it will be fixed.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Brian Zuma confirmed that staff are victimised.“This matter has become a very serious challenge. We also want to believe that the people who are doing these illegal connections are known to the community,” Zuma said.

He said a collective effort between the police, the community and the municipality is needed in order to deal with this matter.

“The solution does not lie with the municipality alone. This is theft and theft is a criminal matter. Community leadership needs to mobilise against theft and engage with all role players including the municipality, in order to seek a lasting solution,” he added.

 

Despite fixing the damage in the feeding cable to Hilton, residents have experienced another power outage only two days later. When contacted, Maxwell Mthembu said that he was aware of the outage, and only a small area of Hilton was affected as a result of an electricity trip. Power was restored by 8 pm last night.

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