‘Tired of illegal electricity’

2012-08-02 00:00

PROTESTING residents from Jika Joe informal settlement admitted that they were stealing power because they wanted electricity for their children.

The protesters, who marched to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta) offices in Langalibalele Street, said they wanted water and toilets as there were only two taps that served the 2 000 residents living in the settlement.

Their march came several days after the Msunduzi Municipality conducted a raid on illegal electricity connections at Jika Joe and removed a number of stolen cables.

Sifiso Nene, chairperson of Ward 33 Community Forum, said they were protesting because they wanted electricity.

“We are tired of illegally connecting electricity because it endangers our children and even our lives are at stake,” he said.

The memorandum to Cogta also demanded better housing and speed humps on Manning Avenue, stating that accidents had claimed the lives of several Jika Joe residents.

They also wanted their street lights put back on, saying the community was being exposed to a lot of crime.

Nene said the street lights had been removed because electricity was being stolen from them.

The protesters have given Cogta seven days to respond to their memorandum, failing which they would “render the city ungovernable”.

Nene said they wanted their councillor, Naleni Atwaru, to resign because she failed to attend community meetings that they called.

Atwaru denied the claim. She said the residents had a constitutional right to housing, a mandate that fell under the Department of Human Settlements. She said she had an office at the disposal of the community, where they could present their grievances.

However, she did not believe that the marchers represented the community since they numbered only about 50 of an estimated 1 300 Jika Joe residents. “It is therefore obvious that the viewpoints presented by the people are not those of the majority.”

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