Residents clash over electricity

2018-06-07 06:00
Illegal cables used by Masakhane Informal Settlement to make connections to their shacks lie on the ground.PHOTO: velani ludidi

Illegal cables used by Masakhane Informal Settlement to make connections to their shacks lie on the ground.PHOTO: velani ludidi

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A clash over electricity nearly erupted between Nomzamo and Masakhane Informal Settlement residents on Sunday morning (3 June).

Masakhane residents awoke to no electricity after Sithunzi Street residents disconnected their illegal connections, saying the connections caused their electricity to trip.

“It’s been a week without electricity because of these people [illegal connectors],” an irate James Gwaza (60), resident of Nomzamo, said.

“We decided to remove their wires. Our children have been forced to wash in cold water before going to school every morning.”

This did not bode well with Masakhane residents, who turned out in numbers to investigate why their electricity was cut off.

On their arrival, residents of Nomzamo were preparing to burn their wires, some said. Insults and threats were apparently exchanged.

Mphuzeni Nontsabo (40) said residents of Masakhane also want electricity.

“We did not choose to be without electricity and we bought the wires they are attempting to set alight,” he pointed out.

After talks, the two communities made peace and decided to work together. Some Nomzamo residents’ electricity boxes were damaged, something they blame on illegal connections.

Residents say Eskom has attempted to restore their electricity, but decided to stop attending to calls from the public. “They said they cannot fix the same problem,” Noma Dadlana said, “ and that we must get our own electricians to fix our boxes.

Nontsabo said they cannot fix boxes, but will make sure the electricity doesn’t trip.

“We can climb up when the electricity trips, but we cannot fix boxes,” he said. “That is Eskom’s duty.”

Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, said she could not answer some questions posed to her by City Vision, because the location’s electricity issues were Eskom- and not City-related. “Electrification in Nomzamo is planned over three financial years; currently we are busy in Sinyanyanzela and Pholile A1, scheduled to be completed by the end of June,” she said.

Eskom failed to respond to City Vision’s query before going to print.

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