Fire victim in queue for electricity

2017-06-06 06:00
Marsha Hendricks from Voortrekker informal settlement in Maitland with the black pot she cooks with on a wood fire while she waits for her electricity meter box.PHOTOs: Nomzamo Yuku

Marsha Hendricks from Voortrekker informal settlement in Maitland with the black pot she cooks with on a wood fire while she waits for her electricity meter box.PHOTOs: Nomzamo Yuku

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The wait for an electricity meter box has been too long for an informal settlement fire victim of Maitland.

Marsha Hendricks’s shack in Voortrekker informal settlement burnt down in January and a week later the ward councillor promised her electricity would be reinstalled in less than a month.

However, up to now Hendricks and her family of four are still waiting. They currently rely on wood fire for cooking or getting help from a neighbour who allows them to connect to their electricity extension sometimes to get power to their new shack.

Hendricks says connecting to her neighbour’s shack is expensive as she would buy electricity of more than R200 a week.

She says she is losing patience with the councillor who is now avoiding them.

“She does not take my calls or reply to my texts. Every time my partner goes to her office, she tells him that we must wait, she has not forgotten.

“At first she had an understandable explanation which we respected and hoped it would have positive outcomes, but here we are, still waiting.

“She told us since another fire broke out in 6th Avenue in Kensington two weeks after ours, we would be on the same list and get electricity at the same time. We found out that 6th Avenue has electricity and we don’t. Hence we are angry.”

She says they want Jacobs to live up to her promises and get them electricity.

Her partner, Abram Coetzee, says he feels neglected and the situation they are living in is not ideal for their three children.

He and Hendricks fetch wood from the bush in the area or collect abandoned pallets and use them to warm water for the children in the morning and to do cooking.

When People’s Post visited, Hendricks was preparing a black pot to cook lunch. She has to be careful her one-year-old baby does not burn herself or even touch a cold pot as she would get smudged black.

Jacobs says she is aware of their situation and the City of Cape Town is still in the process of reinstalling electricity for the fire victims in the ward.

She says: “We will make sure everybody gets electricity. Residents in Voortrekker must be patient, and we are dealing with the matter of electricity. Once installations are completed in 6th Avenue the Maitland residents will be next.”

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