Power outages: join the queue, angry caller told

2011-06-13 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG resident who has been complaining about frequent power outages should learn to take his turn in the long queue of other complainants because “there is no first preference for whites”.

This is what Msunduzi electricity process manager Maxwell Mthembu told Foxhill resident Tony Fereira when he called to complain about the power cuts yesterday.

The blackout was allegedly caused when a transformer caught fire at the corner of White and Towning roads in The Grange.

“I told him that I sent our people to fix the problem. He should wait because there are lots of other people who made complaints.

“We are not going to jump to help him just because he is white. White people still feel that they should get first preference just because they are white.

“He implied that when he left [electricity department offices in Havelock Road] to his home, he expected to find the power back, which is not possible.

“I’m not sure whether the transformer has been fixed, but he must rest assured that his electricity will not be off for a long time.”

Mthembu spoke to The Witness shortly after a fuming Fereira came to the newspaper’s office yesterday afternoon to relate his experience of the power cut between Saturday and Sunday.

“My electricity went off between 4.45 pm and 8 pm yesterday. It went off again about 10 minutes later when I was trying to warm some fast food that I had bought at Spar Supermarket.

“I phoned them and the lady apologised,” Fereira said.

He said the power came back at about 9 pm, and it went off again at about 8 am yesterday. Then he drove to electricity department offices in Havelock Road.

“An African man and a lady told me that this electricity was also frustrating them. They said they are on the receiving end because they are the ones getting confronted. They said they were not happy with their incompetent new deputy mayor.

“I told them that they should sort out my problem and stop telling me about problems of their government because I did not vote for it. I did not vote for the ANC and I will not vote for it,” said Fereira.

He said the employees told him about the damaged transformer and that there were people fixing it.

“I went to check on it only to find that there was no one fixing it. I went back to Havelock Road and asked for Mthembu’s number. While I was talking, I saw these workers standing against a vehicle. I called Mthembu in front of them,” he said.

On Friday night The Witness also took calls from frustrated Northdale residents.

While the residents there are almost inured to power cuts, what angers many of them is the long wait and a lack of response from the call centre.

“Despite all the promises the call centre is still not working!” said one resident, who wanted to remain nameless.

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