Cape Town - Wesbank residents are indignant about Eskom’s load shedding and continued electricity issues in the area which have resulted in serious and ongoing problems for a community already plagued by social and economic challenges.
After setting up numerous meetings with Eskom, the community called for it to account for its off-line call centre, infrastructure damage, and to overcome the electricity problems through community collaboration.
Eskom said continual vandalism of its infrastructure and cable theft in Wesbank was causing multiple network faults that left customers without electricity for prolonged periods.
Ward 19 councillor Ebrahim Sawant (DA) said: “With the current spate of electricity outages happening in Wesbank, my fear is the community will experience total blackouts for days, even weeks on end when winter comes.”
Resident Edith van Wyk said there was a time when they were without electricity for seven days because, during load shedding, thieves took advantage of the circumstances and stole critical cables.
She said these incidents were often followed by violence and riots by frustrated residents who had been facing this situation almost every month since last September.
Sawant said: “In the past, this could mostly be attributed to cable theft, which remains a huge challenge, but it has become clear that Eskom’s regular load shedding and inadequate infrastructure are huge contributing factors.”
Eskom said it had to repeatedly repair and replace vandalised equipment, which also led to a major backlog of faults in the area.
At the last meeting, the delegation from the area explained how their daily lives were disrupted and the negative effects of the electricity outages and disruptions.
Eskom agreed a sustainable solution to the problem was through collaboration.
Sawant said the residents would meet Eskom again tomorrow to hear what actions would be implemented to urgently end the crisis.