Protest over loss of electricity supply brings Cape Town traffic to standstill

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A photo of gridlocked traffic in Cape Town.
A photo of gridlocked traffic in Cape Town.
  • Residents of Wesbank in Cape Town brought major roads to a standstill on Monday.
  • They burned tyres and barricaded roads because of a loss of electricity supply.
  • Ward councillor Ebrahim Sawant accused Eskom of putting lives at risk.

A massive protest over electricity led to the closure of major roads and brought traffic to a standstill in Cape Town.

The protest erupted on Monday afternoon after angry Wesbank residents took to the streets because the area had been without electricity.

The City of Cape Town's traffic services spokesperson, Kevin Jacobs, said the Stellenbosch Arterial had to be closed between Belhar Main Road and Nooiensfontein, Kuilsriver.

"The R300, in both directions, between Stellenbosch Arterial and the N2 is closed. Motorists are advised to make use of alternative routes," he said at the time.

The roads have since been reopened.

Residents of the area burned tyres and barricaded roads.

According to the area's ward councillor, Ebrahim Sawant, the City has been trying to get information from Eskom as to the reasons for the lack of electricity supply.

"This afternoon, the violence flared up, but this has been instigated by criminals. The impact of not having electricity is devastating for the community. We have alerted the mayor as well to this situation.

"For us, it is for Eskom to lay their cards on the table, this is unacceptable. This is a crisis. Our residents' safety is at risk and this is an indictment on Eskom. I fully understand the residents' aggressive actions."

READ | 2 trucks set alight, 1 damaged during protest action in Cape Town

In response to the protest, Eskom said it was aware Wesbank was experiencing a loss of electricity supply since Sunday.

"A cable on the Saxdown Overhead 3 was vandalised, leaving approximately 2 896 customers without electricity. The extent of the vandalism and a high volume of faults delayed operations to restore supply to the area over the weekend." 

Eskom said it had tried to restore electricity on Monday, but due to the protest action was unable to.

"On Monday morning, 24 May 2021, Eskom operators were further delayed due to protest action in the area. Due to unrest in the area, Eskom had to arrange SAPS assistance to escort personnel to the site, before commencing repairs to the faulty network."

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