Chaos in Bombay Rd

2013-05-25 00:00

RESIDENTS of Bombay Road and motorists were stoned during an ongoing protest over the removal of illegal electricity connections yesterday.

Residents of Nhlalakahle informal settlement stoned cars and police and blocked the road with felled power poles in a protest that started on Thursday night after their lights were turned off.

Motorists whose cars were damaged opened cases at Mountain Rise police station as police attempted to keep the road open. As soon as they cleared one barricade, another would be erected under a barrage of stones thrown from the bushes at the roadside.

When a Weekend Witness reporter approached the area, a woman in Bombay Road shouted from her house, “Don’t go near there! They are throwing stones at anyone coming close.”

Burned tyres and rocks littered the road.

The theft of electricity in the informal settlement causes an overload on the system and trips the supply to legitimate electricity consumers in homes nearby.

Resident Neville Sewlall said ratepayers were frustrated.

“We are now forced to sell our houses for a lesser market value as we are trying to run away from this area.

“This has been happening for years and the municipality is not talking about us who are the victims. It’s about time they acted on this thing. We can’t be treated like this.”

Bobby Pillay said he was scared after his Toyota Yaris was stoned on Thursday night.

“It’s totally unacceptable in a civilised society. My vehicle had the front windscreen, door window and back tail-light lens broken. We are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who now have to pay insurance excess to have our vehicles repaired.”

Pillay said he thought he was being robbed until he realised the stones striking his car were coming from bushes on the roadside.

Ward councillor Rooksana Ahmed said she had warned the municipality to take action in a letter.

“I told them that winter is approaching and they should make a plan so we won’t be affected … but they did not respond.”

Municipal electrician Mervin Patrick said his department restored the electricity supply after it became clear that the disconnections in the area also affected legitimate consumers.

Mountain Rise station commander Brigadier Francis Bantham said three cases of malicious damage to property had been opened and police would be monitoring the situation.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said the municipality was losing more than R90 million a year from illegal connections.

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