Izinyoka plunges residents into darkness

2019-06-13 06:00
Ekuphumleni resident Nobantu Ntseke say they have to buy paraffin because of illegal electricity connections. PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

Ekuphumleni resident Nobantu Ntseke say they have to buy paraffin because of illegal electricity connections. PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

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Ekuphumleni residents in Hazeldene say they are “gatvol” of constantly living in the dark. They have accused the neighbouring Ramaphosa informal settlement of messing up their power supply, resulting in ongoing power outages.

During a meeting with City Vision, last week, residents said they had been without electricity for about a month. They claimed the problem started after the establishment of the informal settlement last year. “Ever since Ramaphosa came we have been experiencing power outages,” said one of the residents Nowethu Thetyane.

She accused Ramaphosa residents of illegally connecting cables to electrical boxes meant for Ekuphumleni.

Thetyane said the ongoing outages affected their electrical appliances and their food got rotten. They now have to buy paraffin to cook and light their houses.

Another resident, Xoliswa Mdaka said they have been reporting the issue but little has changed. She said as soon as it is fixed it trips again and they want the boxes to be moved into Ekuphumleni. “Even crime has risen because it is dark at night. Thugs take advantage,” she said. She claimed they reported the matter to their ward councillor but nothing had been done.

Community leader in Ramaphosa Babalwa Siswana agreed with the residents saying they did everything to stop the illegal connections but no one listens.

Siswana said they are planning to go to the City of Cape Town to request electricity for the area. She said the illegal connections posed danger to everyone.

Ward 80 councillor Nkululeko Mgolombane said he is aware of the problem. He said each box is meant to cater for a certain number of households but that is not the case. “This does not only affect Ekuphumleni but other areas as well such as Hazeldene and Mxenge,” he said.

Mayco member for energy and climate change Phindile Maxiti said the community from the informal settlement have been illegally tapping into the existing electrical network, be it from overhead lines, underground cables, public light poles or distribution kiosks, which is increasingly placing pressure on the existing infrastructure and subsequently affects the electricity supply to the area. He said the supply to Ekuphumleni was restored after replacing the transformer that had prematurely failed as a result of these illegal connections.

He added that the City spent more than R350 000 to replace this transformer.

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