Fed-up Sweetwaters residents take to the streets

2017-06-23 13:45
Angry residents on Thursday blocked the entrance to Sweetwaters with rocks and burning tyres after being left without electricity from Wednesday. Numerous suburbs were plunged into darkness after Msunduzi electricity workers downed tools last week in an indefinite strike.

Angry residents on Thursday blocked the entrance to Sweetwaters with rocks and burning tyres after being left without electricity from Wednesday. Numerous suburbs were plunged into darkness after Msunduzi electricity workers downed tools last week in an indefinite strike. ( Ian Carbutt)

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Sweetwaters residents said they will not stop protesting until the Msunduzi Municipality restores power in the area.

The residents closed off the main entrance leading to the area from 6 am on Thursday. Large rocks, burning tyres and garbage were scattered across the street and taxis in the area were could not operate.

The residents were calling for ward councillor Jabu Ngubo to take immediate action and resolve the electricity issue with the municipality.

Sweetwaters was left without electricity on Wednesday night but residents said the power outages have been ongoing.

“Electricity here is unreliable. You can’t come back home and expect that you will find electricity and we can’t live like that.

“We need an improvement in service delivery,” said a resident.

Residents said they called the municipality call centre to find out what had caused the power outage, but were told “there will be no electricity until issues relating to municipal electricity employees have been resolved”.

Resident and Democratic Alliance caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said issues pertaining to striking municipal workers had nothing to do with the community.

“The response from the call centre was disturbing. The municipal manager doesn’t regard this as an urgent matter.

“We expected the mayor to deal with this matter with urgency. It is his duty to make sure that the issues relating to employees are resolved,” he said.

Majola said the mayor as a political head was supposed to be explaining the situation to the community.

“People are battling to go to school and work. We can’t even bath. How do you expect people to live more than five hours without electricity?”

He said the buck stops with the municipal manager and the mayor who are supposed to bear the consequences for this.

“This boils down to the kind of political leadership we have in the city. We are facing a crisis and they are continuing with business as usual.”

Another resident, Thulani Dlamini, said it was a shame that the municipality was failing to deliver basic services.

“This has been going on for a while and no one is giving us an indication of when the issue will be sorted out,” he said.

“We go for days without electricity and the ward councillor doesn’t care. We can’t afford to buy generators.

“The municipality is failing us.”

Dlamini said numerous attempts to report the matter to the ward councillor were unfruitful.

“She has a house is in the suburbs and doesn’t care. She has not even bothered to come and address the community.”


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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