Ekurhuleni power to get overhaul
Johannesburg - The Ekurhuleni municipality will spend R130m to overhaul the electricity metering system in Tembisa, the mayoral spokesperson said on Friday.
"The project is expected to get underway within the next few weeks with an amount of R700 000 already set aside for this financial year," Zweli Dlamini said in a statement.
Tembisa residents protested on Friday over billing problems and electricity being disconnected.
They burnt tyres and blocked roads in the area and were intimidating people into staying away from work, said Ekurhuleni metro police spokesperson Mveli Nhlapo.
Four schools had been closed as a result of the protest.
Metro police fired rubber bullets at protesters who were stoning their vehicles.
"We asked them nicely to stop, but they didn't so we had no further option but to shoot them with rubber bullets," he said.
Seven people were arrested on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property. The situation had since quietened down and protesters dispersed, Nhlapo said.
Mayoral committee member Aubrey Nxumalo addressed protesters at the Mehlareng Stadium. The municipality condemned the "the acts of lawlessness" during the protests, Dlamini said.
"While we respect the constitutional right of people to voice their concerns including to protest, what we disagree with and will not tolerate is people who become disruptive in the process and also prevent other people from accessing the services they are constitutionally entitled to receive," he said.
"People who do such things must not expect to be treated with kid gloves."
Earlier, the Democratic Alliance called on the Ekurhuleni mayoral committee to intervene.
“While the DA supports credit control, we do not believe paying residents should suffer as a result of mistakes on the part of the ANC-controlled Ekurhuleni metro,” said spokeswoman Tania Campbell.
She said the finance MMC had to implement after-hours measures that would enable residents to have their billing problems sorted out when their electricity had been disconnected.
"Although the DA does not support violence under any circumstances it is understandable that residents are at their wits' end," she said.
"Tembisa is plagued by ongoing interruptions to the power supply and residents have a right to expect to receive the services they have paid for."