Riot over power outage

Fed-up Cinderella Park residents took to the streets to protest yesterday after a transformer in the area was taken away by Msunduzi’s electricity team more than two weeks ago for emergency repairs, leaving the area in the dark. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane
Fed-up Cinderella Park residents took to the streets to protest yesterday after a transformer in the area was taken away by Msunduzi’s electricity team more than two weeks ago for emergency repairs, leaving the area in the dark. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

Cinderella Park residents lit up Eastwood’s streets with burning tyres demanding the restoration of their electricity on Tuesday evening.

Motorists who tried to force their way across the blaze had their vehicles stoned with bricks by the angry mob demanding Msunduzi to bring back their transformer.

Traffic backed up for kilometres on Manning Avenue from the Chief Mhlabunzima Road intersection where they gathered.

Apparently the City’s electricity team took the transformer more than two weeks ago for emergency repairs, leaving the area in the dark.

“We don’t know when it’s coming back because our useless councillor [Mike Amod] has not bothered to help. He just tells us he’s on leave so we must phone the call centre but the agents there don’t know either.

“Now he’s hiding in his house and doesn’t want to come out,” said one of the residents.

What angered them the most, they said, was that the neighbouring informal settlements had lights even though they were illegally connected.

“We are paying for electricity but we are the ones left in the dark.

“Our children have not been able to go to school because we can’t bath them in cold water. As it is our homes are freezing but we bought electricity at the end of the month,” said resident Pam Daniels.

They said all the frozen foods they bought at the end of the month rotted but they were not going to get any compensation from Msunduzi.

They said when the City first took the transformer, the electricity team said it needed to be fixed because it had an oil leak then later changed the story to blame illegal connections for the fault. “Now we’re hearing that it will only come back around the 15th [of July] but no one can tell us why it’ll take so long and what we are supposed to do until then,” said Cindy Naik.

City spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said there were about four or five areas affected by the blown transformers and Cinderella Park was one of them.

“Currently there is no readily available stock to restore power immediately. The supplier is working around the clock to assist with repairs of the faulty units. The estimated timeframe to have the first delivery is sometime next week, but we will confirm closer to the date,” Mafumbatha said.

She said the current rate at which transformers were blowing was unprecedented and had led to a shortage of equipment.

The affected Cinderella Park transformer was apparently replaced less than a month ago and a bigger size was installed.

Amod said the attacks against him were unwarranted and an attempt to tarnish his reputation.

He said he had been in communication with the electricity department for the past two weeks and he reported back to the community.

“There are people in that mob who are trying to position themselves for political positions.

“I’m being sabotaged by elements in this ward, but I know I did my job. They are trying to intimidate me.”

He said the community has tasked him to take the matter to the City’s leadership because they want a speedy resolution.

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