Power cuts: Tarr’s visit gives hope to residents

2010-04-27 00:00

FED up with the constant power outages caused by theft of electricity, property owners and tenants living in Masukwana and Burger streets are hoping that a meeting with the Msunduzi mayor will end the blackouts.

The residents met Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr, his deputy, Jabu Nguba, and councillrs on Friday evening and expressed their concern about the ongoing blackouts brought about as a result of illegal electricity connections by residents in the nearby Jika Joe informal settlement.

Speaking on behalf of the affected residents yesterday, Goonam Chohan said the municipality had built temporary prefabricated dwellings in they area, but without providing electricity for the residents.

“The consequence is that Jika Joe dwellers are stealing electricity from street power boxes [and] these illegal connections at the power boxes are made with exposed bare wires,” he said. Blackouts result when the cables come into contact with moisture.

Chohan said some complainants have been threatened by Jika Joe shack dwellers and warned not to report electricity thefts.

He added that appliances are frequently damaged as a result of the power cuts and affected residents are inconvenienced when the electricity goes out while they are getting ready for work or school, preparing meals or doing household chores.

The residents have written many petitions over the years, but no one from the municipality has responded or come to see them.

“The fact that the mayor came to meet us is great, and he has instilled confidence into the people that we can expect something to get done,” he said.

Tarr said he went to Jika Joe on Sunday to see the area for himself and found that residents are living in appalling conditions.

He said he later approached the Human Settlements Departmentabout to finding ways to alleviate the poor living conditions in the area.

“This place has been allowed to [deteriorate] for the past 15 years and it’s unbelievable,” said Tarr.

“Of course, if you have no food you’re going to steal electricity, so let’s do something so that you don’t steal.

“You don’t solve problems by locking people up,” he said.

Tarr is set to visit the settlement again tomorrow along with department representatives so that they can map the way forward and find a solution to the problem.

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