Delft residents value electricity but fear it could soon be switched off again
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Cape Town - A long-term resolution to the ongoing electricity issues that have been affecting a local community in Delft is hanging in balance.
Despite having electricity in their homes once again, Delft residents living in Leiden are apprehensive about how long their lights will stay on this time, knowing how rife the issue of illegal electricity connections is in their area.
Leiden resident Lindiswa Dinakwe said: “We are glad that electricity has been restored to our homes. Living here had become hard, you know, with children and the elderly people who are accustomed to having electricity.”
“It wasn’t easy, but now we are always conscious, worrying if the same thing will happen again, if we will have to use candles for light for another two, three weeks again,” she said.
Last week, during a protest, residents from the area resorted to tearing down illegal power lines that had been allegedly connected by residents from nearby Tsunami informal settlement in a bid to have Eskom come into the area and restore their power.
In addressing the situation, Eskom released a statement saying that it was working with the Western Cape Government and its appointed developers to finalise electrification of a temporary relocation area to relocate some Tsunami occupants.
The electricity service provider also said that it could only electrify Tsunami once plans were finalised by the provincial government and the area proclaimed. However, the provincial government would not confirm working with Eskom to this end.
Instead, the Department of Human Settlements said that while it had been made aware of electricity outages in the Delft area as a result of illegal electricity connections by residents from the Tsunami informal settlement, and that the electrification of the Tsunami was likely to alleviate the problem being experienced by Delft residents, Tsunami fell under the responsibility of the City.
City Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “This is a complex situation, and the City, Eskom and the Western Cape Government are looking into it as it entails a redevelopment subject to funding, space and relocation.
“As it stands, there is no space to electrify as the settlement was created in an unplanned manner with a high density of people. This area is in an Eskom-supplied area, and it is characterised by intense illegal connections that affect the electricity supply to parts of the broader area, including parts of the settlement.”