Outage sparks rage

2015-11-11 12:25
Protesting along Old Strandfontein Road, residents of Egoli.

Protesting along Old Strandfontein Road, residents of Egoli.

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Chaos erupted last week as residents of Egoli informal settlement took to the streets to show their dissatisfaction after their illegal electricity supply was cut.
Traffic was brought to a halt on Tuesday afternoon when residents embarked on protest action along Old Strandfontein Road.
The road was cordoned off between Klip and Ottery roads after police were called to the scene.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says Grassy Park and Philippi police officers were alerted to the protest action on the corner of Old Strandfontein and Boundary roads.

“The protest came after the City of Cape Town disconnected the electricity of Egoli informal settlement in Philippi. A group of about 150 protesters residing in Egoli informal settlement took to the streets to show their dissatisfaction about the City of Cape Town disconnecting their electricity earlier in the day,” Kleinsmith says.
Motorists were diverted along 5th Avenue as protest action included throwing stones and burning tyres.

“Police’s public order policing unit brought the protest to a halt when protesters started stoning vehicles and police. Stunt grenades and rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd,” she adds.

Two men, aged 19 and 35, were arrested as well as three women, aged 30, 46 and 50, on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.
They were to appear in Athlone Magistrates’ Court.
“Police will not tolerate criminal activities and disobeying of the law, especially in their presence, and will protect innocent lives and property,” Kleinsmith says.
Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, says the informal settlement is not on the grid, which means they were connecting illegally.
“Egoli is situated on private land and as such cannot be electrified. The community is therefore connecting themselves illegally to the grid, and wilfully vandalising distribution infrastructure in the area.

“The continual vandalism of the system has resulted in power supply to neighbouring communities being interrupted for hours and sometimes days at a time,” Sonnenberg explains.

“The residents of Egoli have declared that while they do not have electricity they will continue to vandalise infrastructure in an attempt to strong-arm the City into supplying electricity to the settlement. Given the legal impediments, however, this is unfortunately not possible,” Sonnenberg says.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says the City sent fire and rescue services to extinguish fires from burning tyres that protestors left in the road.
“Three traffic officers, eight metro police officers and four law enforcement officers were on scene to assist the police who are the primary agency in dealing with matters around public order policing,” Smith says.
Sonnenberg says normal supply has returned to the farms in the area.
“However, sustaining a reliable supply to customers in the area is challenging due to the continual theft and vandalism.”

  • Residents can report cable theft to the City’s metals theft unit on 0800 222 771.

  • What are your thoughts? Email post@­peoples­post.co.za to share your views.


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