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Gang-related activity interrupts service delivery in Parkwood

The intersection of Hyde Road and Prince George Drive in Parkwood. Picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

The intersection of Hyde Road and Prince George Drive in Parkwood. Picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 25, 2022

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Cape Town - Parkwood was left without electricity after gun-toting gangs put a stop to the work of City engineers and law enforcement teams called to attend to a power outage in the area.

They were there on Sunday night to fix the fault at the Southfield Transformer, but withdrew from the area after multiple gunshots.

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Councillor Donovan Nelson said the teams continued work on Monday morning at the Blackbird Building Substation to finally restore the electricity.

He said the fault was the result of a medium voltage cable termination that failed probably as a result of deterioration of the insulation due to high ambient temperatures experienced the past few days.

“The outage affected the whole of Parkwood as five mini-substations were affected. All five mini-substations feeding Parkwood were being supplied from the Southfield side at the time of the outage,” Nelson said.

He said the electricity was off for about 17 hours; however the engineers did their best to restore power to the area as quickly as possible.

Parkwood Community Upliftment founder Max Swarts said the effect of gang activity on service delivery was a major issue in the area because it often put the elderly, the vulnerable and especially the youth at risk as they had to live in permanent uncomfortable conditions.

A member of the Parkwood Community Matters Facebook group said: “The gang shootings are preventing our electricity being fixed, so we must suffer. We are losing our perishables, our food and stuff.”

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Swarts said he received an influx of calls and messages from people wanting to know why a certain part of Parkwood was not receiving electricity and what was wrong.

People came to the organisation on Monday morning to complain that the last of their food had gone off as there was still no electricity by 11am.

Community leader Rashad Allen said what they thought would be a quick fix turned into hours of inconvenience and wasted food.

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Even though gangsterism posed a danger to the departments and services that came into the area to assist, Swarts said the extended period without electricity meant people lost money they could not afford to.

Meanwhile, the City encouraged volunteers from the former Walking Bus volunteer project to apply to its newest law enforcement unit in the Safety and Security Directorate that focused on the protection of service delivery teams, facilities and infrastructure

“This unit is critical to ensuring service delivery is not delayed due to public unrest that threatens the safety of our teams who then have to wait for law enforcement escorts to arrive before they can commence with their work,” the City said.

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