Feud in Ivory Park over illegal electricity, residents threaten to blow up substation

Electricity theft. (Photo: File, Fin24 user Johann Marx)
Electricity theft. (Photo: File, Fin24 user Johann Marx)

Ivory Park residents have threatened to blow up a substation if Eskom and the police don't assist them to disconnect illegal electricity cables land occupiers installed.

Home owners in the area told News24 on Wednesday that that land occupiers at Value View informal settlement were stealing electricity from their transformers.

The residents have embarked on protests in the area.

A resident who refused to be identified out of fear of being victimised, claimed she was without power for three months and another resident, Moscow Moeda, said he was without electricity for five weeks.

"We are struggling and live in the dark because of our neighbours. They are stealing our electricity in broad daylight. There is nothing we can do because they are violent and are threatening to kill us if we attempt to disconnect their cables.

"Those people are dangerous and we are afraid of them," said Moeda.

He said they want a peaceful solution to avoid violent confrontation with land occupiers.

"Eskom officials are not safe to go there either. If they want to disconnect illegally connected cables, they will need backup from the police," Moeda said

A group of residents walked to the Ivory Park police station on Wednesday to seek assistance from the police.

In the dark

Rethabile Matsane said they would attack the substation and leave Ivory Park in the dark if there was no assistance.

"Let us all stay in the dark. Eskom officials can't go there alone without police and our backup. We want our electricity back. They have electricity 24 hours while we, as payers, don't have electricity.

"I have been in the dark for the past six weeks. If we don't act now, we are going to be in the dark forever while people enjoy our power. If we were not afraid to confront residents of Value View, we would have long disconnected their cables. Unfortunately, we are afraid of them because they are armed and dangerous," said Matsane.

Thulani Sithole, a tailor, said he lost many customers due to the lack of electricity.

"For the past three weeks, I have not even had a single customer. I have lost a lot of money. People don't bring their clothes to be sewn anymore because they know I don't have electricity," he said.

A Value View resident who refused to be identified said they made plans to source electricity.

He refused to explain where they would obtain electricity from, but added that residents also needed electricity - legally or illegally.

Police spokesperson Captain Bernard Matimulane said they engaged with residents and advised them to meet with Eskom representatives.

"If they have met with all stakeholders involved, we will escort them into the area," he said.  

Eskom said it will not repair faulty and damaged substations and transformers in areas where residents don't pay for electricity.

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