Generators for Madiba house

By Drum Digital
05 September 2013

Ailing former president Nelson Mandela's Houghton home was among those hit by a widespread power cut in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The whirring of a generator could be heard from behind the high walls, while another large generator was belching out smoke in 11th Avenue, which runs parallel to the street where Mandela lives.

It was cordoned off with yellow tape and guarded by a lone City Power employee.

Mandela was discharged from the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Sunday to recuperate at home following a lengthy stay after being admitted for treatment of a recurring lung infection on June 8.

His home has been reconfigured to ensure he receives the correct care, and some staff who had been at the hospital are also caring for him at home.

His condition was last described by the presidency as still critical and stable, but at times unstable.

Houghton was one of many suburbs on the West Rand and parts of northern Johannesburg experiencing power outages on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, a few hundred City Power workers downed tools late in the afternoon.

They were unhappy about a new shift system the power distributor wanted to implement to improve service delivery.

On Thursday morning, City Power said it could take two or three days to restore power to all effected areas.

"We are currently experiencing power outages as a result of the strike. We have not been able to timeously attend to calls, resulting in a service backlog in these areas," it said in a statement.

"We are doing our best to restore power in the affected areas with the assistance of contractors. Nevertheless, we expect that full restoration is likely to take two to three days."

Residents in areas not effected by the power cuts could help the situation by limiting their electricity usage to help ease pressure on the grid.

City Power managing director Sicelo Xulu would cut his leave short in light of the labour and electricity problems.

News agency Agence France-Presse reported that a court order was issued on Thursday morning to compel strikers to return to work, but they had not yet reported for duty.

-Sapa

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