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Johannesburg - Joburg on Thursday night was a city being held to ransom as contractors battled to bring online substations sabotaged by striking City Power officials.
On Thursday night, security guards were placed around substations to prevent illegal strikers extending the blackout to more suburbs.
City Power confirmed there had been sabotage to the electricity network, precipitating major outages throughout the city on Thursday.
Hloni Motloung, media consultant for City Power, said investigations had confirmed the outages were the result of workers on an illegal strike deliberately disconnecting electricity to many suburbs.
By early Thursday evening, a technical team and contractors had restored power to the Hursthill, Mayfair, Alexandra and Cydna substations.
The process of restoring power to each substation takes several hours, said Motloung.
He would not say when power would be fully restored to the city.
The electrical crisis started when about 100 City Power employees embarked on an illegal strike on Wednesday afternoon.
The strike is over proposed shift changes.
Earlier on Thursday, City Power obtained a court order to interdict the strikers.
Motloung said the legal costs would be deducted from the individuals’ salaries.
Meanwhile, some of Joburg’s citizens had to endure yet another night in the dark.
Bramley Park resident Roy Wilson, who lives in a complex, said his area had been without power for two days.
He is the only one in the complex who has a generator and had already spent R250 on petrol.
“I am trying to help my neighbours charge their phones and boil water for a cup of tea,” he said.
An infuriated Sheraz Carrin, of Emmarentia, said his asthmatic son is on a nebuliser and needs electricity.
“I personally went to the City Power premises and asked for them to switch the power on. They told me there was nothing wrong with the electricity, it was off because they are on strike and will not turn it back on,” he said.
“What happens if someone dies because of this spiteful action?” he asked.
Cresta shopping mall in Randburg looked like a ghost town on Thursday afternoon.
Sitting in her candlelit store, the owner of Honey Boutique, Louisa Fairweather, described the power outage as very disappointing.
“This is our busiest time when we are supposed to rake in a lot of money. We have matric dresses to prepare and alter, and there are some dances taking place on Saturday,” said Fairweather.
Joburg metro police spokeswoman Inspector Edna Mamonyane said the citywide outages had caused serious traffic gridlock on Thursday morning.
* While some Joburg residents had to contend with no power, others were experiencing water shortages.
According to Johannesburg Water, some areas of the city, including parts of Northcliff, were without water or experiencing low tap pressure as power outages had prevented water from being pumped into water towers.
Late Thursday night, City Power said it had restored power to the Hursthill and Mayfair substations that supply the Auckland Park, Bosmont, Crosby, Emmarentia, Mayfair, Northcliff, Rosebank, Riverlea and Westdene areas, as well as the Cydna, Alexandra and Gresswold substations, which supply the Atholl, Alexandra, Bramley, Hyde Park, Melrose, Riverpark, Tsutsumani and Wynberg areas.