Hilton: Eskom to the rescue

2011-12-29 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality failed to restore power to Hilton and other suburbs yesterday and had to call in Eskom to help.

Subjected to a flurry of complaints from long-suffering Hilton residents, who were unable to conduct business or cook and had to salvage thawing food from defrosting freezers, the municipality could not say when it could restore power as it could not work out what the problem was.

A Hilton resident said all the townspeople should come together and complain to the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, so that she could get to the bottom of a problem that has persisted for three years.

“Where are we going to get answers from regarding the state of electricity in the city?” asked the resident. “Do we have to burn down the city hall before we get the answers?”

These questions were echoed by frustrated residents from Boughton and Blackridge, who demanded to know why the electricity had been out for 17 hours. They tried in vain to get answers from the Msunduzi Municipality.

Making matters worse for residents in Hilton — where more than half of the suburb from Garlington to Winterskloof was out — was that the power cut had disabled the water pumps and residents were having to use buckets.

The area has been affected by cuts on and off for the past 10 days, except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Residents suspect that there is some form of load-shedding because there is a pattern of the electricity going off at about 5 pm and coming on again at about 3 am.

They want the Msunduzi Municipality to come clean: is load-shedding being carried out and how long can they expect the blackouts to continue?

The municipality has previously said that money has been set aside for the refurbishment of the Hilton line. But it has not been made clear how long it will take to solve the problem.

Hilton resident Saljo Halderman, an electrician, said his voltage was down to 170 when it should be 220.

“If the situation stays like this, it is going to burn out fridge motors and deep-freezers and destroy a whole lot of electrical appliances.”

Halderman asked: “Is the municipality going to pay for the appliances if they are destroyed as result of outages?”

Another resident, Verson van Heerden, said: “We have had enough and now we appeal to the government to get involved.”

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