The damaged electric pole at Ikwelerha Street, Extension 6 in Mfuleni.
The damaged electric pole at Ikwelerha Street, Extension 6 in Mfuleni.

Bad weather, illegal connections bring power outages

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jul 29, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - With bad weather continuing to batter the city, residents in certain areas say they are experiencing power outages for prolonged periods.

This as the City says it was attending to a high volume of electricity service requests triggered by recent severe storms, load-shedding and ongoing infrastructure vandalism.

The City said its Electricity Call Centre and electricity depots were working with a skeleton staff due to a number of Covid-19-positive cases and this was affecting its service delivery and turnaround times.

Residents in Mfuleni said the outages were created by Covid, a newly established informal settlement which was illegally connecting from their electric poles and putting a strain on their electricity supply.

Resident Anela Madikane said at times the residents would go without power for more than a week.

“We no longer use the electricity to cook and connect our appliances as a result our food gets spoiled. Basically it feels like we are in an informal settlement, and it is unfair because we buy the electricity. The cables are constantly burning and they pose a risk to our children and will cost someone's life.

“We need the City to come up with a sustainable solution that can accommodate us and the people in the informal settlement with power, so that these illegal connections are stopped,” she said.

Macassar community activist Christiaan Steward said it was the second time that the power had been out for 14 hours. He said the community tried in vain to get the ward councillor to pay attention.

“We understand that this is not load shedding and neither was it caused by cable theft, as they always say,” he said.

Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change Phindile Maxiti said larger area outages caused by infrastructure damage took longer to resolve as these were caused by illegal connections, ongoing vandalism and by trees and shrubs growing into electricity infrastructure.

Maxiti said that Covid-19 and last week’s load shedding impacted operations and health and safety regulations must be adhered to in the interest of staff, contractors and customers.

“It must also be noted that many areas across the metro remain highly volatile. Although the City does its best to attend to requests as soon as possible, it cannot jeopardise staff and contractor safety,” she said.

“Electricity teams often have to get law enforcement escorts in some areas. It is often not possible to give an exact time for restoration where damage to infrastructure is involved and where an outage affects a large area.”

[email protected]

Share this article: