Duncan Village residents in the dark after illegal electricity connections trips new transformer

2018-06-29 08:45
The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality installed this supply transformer in C-section of Duncan Village two weeks ago. (Chris Galili, GroundUp)

The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality installed this supply transformer in C-section of Duncan Village two weeks ago. (Chris Galili, GroundUp)

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About 50 households in C Section of Duncan Village in East London, living without electricity for four years, welcomed the installation of a new supply transformer.

However, as GroundUp reports, their celebrations were short-lived when their transformer switched off just a week after it was installed.

The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality is expected to replace the transformer this week.

GroundUp first spoke to some the families in October 2017, who had been without electricity for more than three years at the time. They said that in 2014, the supply transformer burnt out after illegal connections were made to it. A woman had reportedly been electrocuted by one of the illegal electrical wires on the ground.

Two weeks ago, the municipality installed a new transformer to electrify C Section informal settlement. The illegal connections in the area were believed to have overloaded the new transformer.

Resident Akhona Majaja said her meat-selling business suffered when the electricity was cut. She added that although she was happy about the new transformer, she believed the "municipality dragged its feet to help us".

"We know that it will improve the level of safety at night around the area. Hopefully people will disconnect Izinyoka [illegal connections] cables from the poles."

Majaja said residents would ask the City to install electricity boxes in each shack.

"This will decrease the number of Izinyoka. Anyone found stealing electricity would be dealt with. Our ward councillor told us there was no point for this, as we will be moved to new houses very soon. We know that it will never happen," she said.

Another resident, Nokuthula Mafilika, said her shack burnt down in 2017 because illegal connections behind her home caught alight.

"We hope this will mean the end of our electrical problems, but [the transformer] is small. The municipality needs to reinstall the cables that were cut by Izinyoka connections years ago," she said.

Ward councilor Ntombizandile Mhlola said the City also planned to the remove the illegal connections. Mhlola urged residents to stop making the illegal connections.

"This was the main cause for the burning of the transformer in the first place," she said.

Mhlola did not respond to questions on whether the municipality was considering installing electricity boxes in each shack.

Read more on:    east london  |  service delivery  |  electricity
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