River Park residents prevent City Power from cutting electricity, vows to continue with illegal connections

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River Park resident protest against disconnections.
River Park resident protest against disconnections.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • River Park residents prevented City Power from removing illegal connections.
  • Residents are demanding proper electricity in the area.
  • They admit to stealing electricity from neighbouring homes.

City Power has vowed to return to River Park, Alexandra, after it had to abandon an operation to remove illegal connections on Thursday.

Residents have told the City of Johannesburg entity that they will not allow their illegally-connected power to be disconnected.

READ | 211 informal settlements in Joburg accused of stealing electricity

City Power was forced to abandon its bid to remove illegal cables in the area, fearing for the safety of its employees.

Residents took to the streets by blocking roads with burning tyres and other objects.

They are among a group of people who have illegally invaded a block of flats in the area.

Steven Kekana admitted to stealing electricity, but said he would continue to connect power to his home illegally.

Kekana said they can't stay in the dark, while there is power nearby.

"We can't use paraffin in 2021. We are also citizens of this country and deserve services like everybody. If they remove our illegal connections, we will reconnect. We are not going to use candles in 2021, when people are using electricity.

Dangerous

"Our illegal connections, they are indeed dangerous. City Power act like they care... if they cared, they would have provided us with electricity.

"We don't mind paying for power, but if they don't provide us with lights, we will continue with our illegal connections.

"We are not going to tolerate any bullying from City Power. If police and City Power conspire against us, we will fight back as citizens," Kekana said.

SEE | Illegal connections in Alexandra: Several City Power vehicles damaged as residents block officials

Mmapula Mogoba said they staged protests last year to demand electricity, but it fell on deaf ears.

Mogoba claimed that City Power officials had promised to provide electricity.

"We were awoken by neighbours that City Power is here to remove our cables and we decided to protest and block roads. The only way to get an ear from the government is by protesting. Our action of taking to the streets is working because they have left the area without removing one cable," Mogoba said.

Last year, City Power vehicles were damaged when workers attempted to disconnect illegal connections in the area.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said they had decided to pull their manpower and trucks from the area because of the volatile situation.

"We can see the police are outnumbered. We fear a similar situation in the area, where our trucks were damaged," said Mangena.

Mangena has promised that they will return to the area to conduct the operation.

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