Protests over power cuts disrupt morning traffic in Soweto

2020-02-03 09:03
Burning tyre. (File)

Burning tyre. (File) (iStock)

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Soweto residents took to the streets on Monday morning to protest against power cuts in the area. 

JMPD spokesperson Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told News24 traffic is being affected in Moroka South and that rocks and burning tyres are blocking roads including Elias Motsoaledi Road and Chris Hani Road. 

"Motorists can use Modjadji Street if they're coming from Dlamini and Koma Street if they're from the south as alternative routes," Minnaar said. 

He said residents were protesting over not having electricity. 

"More officers have been sent to that area."

Power utility Eskom has said it is continuing with a campaign it started late last year in Gauteng to cut off power to users that have failed to pay or rigged illegal connections, Fin24 reported. This includes Soweto.

"If you want to avoid being disconnected, come forward. Even if you have rigged your meter, you can come forward, collect your fine and find a way forward to start paying. Do not wait to get caught," Eskom spokesperson in Gauteng, Reneiloe Semenya told Fin24 on Thursday.

But a Soweto ANC councillor, Mpho Sesedinyane, says the utility is being arrogant by disconnecting power to homes, saying communities would resist "unapologetically and without fear of intimidation".

The disconnection drive comes as the debt-laden utility seeks to recover billions of rand it is owed by municipalities.

Late last year the utility's former chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, said total municipal debt could approach R30bn by the end of 2019.

Eskom's own debt stands at about R450bn, and it does not make enough from selling electricity at current prices to pay off interest on the debt.

On Thursday morning, some Twitter users shared images of Eskom branded trucks apparently disconnecting electricity from residences in Soweto.

Semenya confirmed that disconnections were taking place in various areas across Gauteng where households were not paying for the electricity they consumed.

"We are conducting disconnections throughout Gauteng. We are in areas where we have high losses of electricity and payments are low," she said.

Eskom personnel were in areas such as Soweto, Orange Farm, Diepsloot and Ivory Park. 

Read more on:    jmpd  |  johannesburg  |  traffic  |  loadshedding  |  protests

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