Nine arrested in Soweto protests over prepaid meters

2015-10-28 15:56
Protests in Soweto turned violent yesterday as Eskom contractors cars were stoned. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press

Protests in Soweto turned violent yesterday as Eskom contractors cars were stoned. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press

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Pictures & Video: Lucky Nxumalo 

Protests in Soweto turned violent yesterday after residents took to the streets of Orlando East when Eskom contractors tried to install prepaid meters in the area. 

Parts of Orlando East had been without electricity since Tuesday. 

When Eskom technicians came to install new electricity boxes yesterday they were chased away by residents. During the protest, four cars were damaged by residents. 

“People are fighting for the upholding of their Constitutional rights because there was no form of communication between Eskom and the people and there was no consent from the community but they went ahead regardless,” said resident Kwezi Shabalala. 

“They disrupted the sanctity of our homes.” 

This is not the first time that Soweto residents have taken to the streets over prepaid meters. 

In April, Orlando East residents protested against prepaid water meters that the City of Johannesburg installed in the area. 

The prepaid meters are being rolled out by Eskom and the City of Joburg to ensure fair treatment of customers and to resolve the ongoing problem of unpaid bills. 

“We gathered this morning and we thought we would block traffic, and the police started shooting at us and apprehended one of our members,” said Shabalala. 

Captain Nomvula Mbensefrom Orlando SAPS said that residents of Orlando had damaged four cars. 

“Two cars belonged to Eskom. The other two belonged to contractors who were visiting houses and checking the prepaid meters,” she said. 

Nine people were arrested for public violence and were due to appear in court today. 

In June, Eskom offered a deal to residents of Soweto: agree to install a prepaid meter and use power sparingly and we’ll renegotiate your bill – otherwise we will cut you off. 

Then, the Soweto electricity bill to Eskom was sitting at R8 billion. 

Read more on:    soweto

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