For us, there is never a light at the end ...

2018-11-15 06:00

My name is Charmaine Pretorius, Community Leader in Hillview 2 – an informal settlement where we are living in huts packed on top of one another.

From my side I just want to know why, when our people buy R10 electricity, they get 3 units? – which means you cannot even make dinner with those units.

It usually goes for keeping the lights on in the house. We sit with children who will write exams soon. Where does the light come from?

It is so unsafe for our people to pick up branches in the woods to put food on the table. Also unhealthy for our community of which we have people with tuberculosis and other diseases.

Here I am, a living witness, sitting with a cold because it’s hot outside and cold inside. Something can happen to our women and children.

What does it help the gangsters run into the bush to shelter from the police? Even if we try to report a complaint, the electric trucks bypass our people with the promise to correct the mistake the next day – which leads to months, sometimes years, only time they discover it when your lights trip again. Then they seek an amount of R3000 to put your power back on. My question is where do we fit from the informal settlements with the IRP planning for 2018? Until 2021?

It’s not just about the informal settlements. It is also about formal rate payers.

We in the informal settlements draw short straws, the shortest end. Now my question is why do they put electricity in your home when you can not afford the units?

It is then an ornament in your house. You asked for it. You have got it. So shut up and be satisfied. That’s how we feel. Please, think of us in the informal settlements if you make decisions. We beg you.

  • This letter was read during Public Participation Workshops organised by Project 90 by 2030 held with a group of concerned community leaders from Nyanga, Hillview, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha on Thursday 4 October, to discuss the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) and how the various proposed scenarios could affect people’s daily lives in future.
Charmaine Pretorious Hillview2

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