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By Michelle Pietersen
Two weeks ago Eskom cut down dangerous electricity lines between Du Noon and Site 5 after an electrical box exploded. But residents simply reconnected the illegal wires.
Across the Western Cape, people in informal settlements tap electricity from luckier neighbours who have officially installed electricity boxes, often providing a desperately-needed, albeit small, income in exchange for the service.
Site 5 has no electricity - a source of conflict between Eskom and the City of Cape Town, which says it has asked the power provider to "get on board" many times.
But in the meantime, the residents have to live.
Site 5 resident Fransi Mluleki said: "Eskom cut the power because the main switch blew up. They say they can't give electricity as it's private land."
Residents "fixed up the wires and put up another pole".
The spiderweb of electricity lines dangling across Potsdam Road speaks for itself.
Du Noon resident Monica Samani shares her one-bedroom home with her husband, six children, friend Tanya Rubushe and her four children.
Unemployed, they depend on social grants, and, like many other families living there, survive on charging Site 5 neighbours for electricity.
"The people of Site 5 are desperate for electricity. Maybe if we are hungry we ask for a loaf of bread," said Samani.
The result is dangerous. Other than the overhead power lines, electrical wires are also connected through wet sewer channels beneath the road and live connections are exposed to the elements, and fingers.
"It is dangerous. Sometimes we get a shock when we touch the fridge," Rubushe said.
But without these hazardous connections, people in Site 5 would be without power.
Councillor Vincent Bergh said the city had tried for three years to get Eskom "to come to the party". He had written many letters to Eskom urging it to provide electricity to the informal settlement.
"We've tried various things to get them to assist us, but nothing works," said Bergh.
In a letter to Bergh "about two to three months ago", Eskom said they would "provide services (only) if they (council) de-densify Du Noon".
Bergh was hoping to "reach an agreement with Eskom" at a council meeting tomorrow.
"I would love to come to an agreement. This issue is on the council meeting agenda.
"They must provide power to the people," he said.
Eskom could not be contacted for comment.