Chaos as city workers cut illegal power connections

2014-12-18 00:00

MAYHEM ensued at Manor Flats ­yesterday morning when residents and Msunduzi Municipality workers clashed over electricity disconnections.

Armed municipal security guards and the electricity department went into the area, disconnecting electricity, allegedly also that of residents who produced proof of payment.

The area has been marred with a string of deaths due to illegal electricity connections.

Despite residents producing receipts of payments, workers continued disconnecting the main meter as the angry crowd watched in despair.

During the chaos, a security guard could be seen pulling out a firearm. Pepper-spray was fired into the crowd, sending people fleeing in all directions.

“After disconnecting electricity a security guard pepper-sprayed before chasing me with a gun. I had to run for cover,” said resident Roy Naidoo.

Lali Morugan said the municipality consolidated electricity and rent, and failure to pay either result in power cut.

“People are suffering here. Some people are up to date with their accounts and even paid for December but still it was cut,” she said.

Most of the residents staying there are unemployed and pensioners and, they say, are forced to pay R3 000 or R5 000 bills which they cannot afford.

Area councillor Naleni Atwaru said the disconnections are performed according to administrative directive from management and those residents who have not paid must make the necessary arrangements.

“Those who have paid up to date, ought not to have been disconnected. This must be rectified by the municipality, and all associated fees attached thereto, must be reimbursed.”

Electricity department acting head Doray Vallo said, “The disconnection was initiated by finance and housing departments and we were assisting them.”

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the disconnections were for people whose accounts are in arrears and they would be in the dark until they settle their accounts.

“This is part of the municipality’s operation to collect what is due to the municipality.

“Illegal connections are not only fatal but the municipality is pleading with the people to refrain from them and for residents to report any illegal connections.”


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