Cape Town - Residents in an area which has been plagued by gangsterism have approached the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) about unscheduled blackouts.
Wesbank councillor Ebrahim Sawant said the Eskom problems experienced by residents continue to cause great frustration and anger.
“Many people are still left without electricity after complaining for weeks. We have called on commissioner Chris Nissen from the Human Rights Commission to intervene. Mr Nissen responded immediately and met with the councillor and community leaders on Monday.
“The meeting was very constructive, with Mr Nissen undertaking to convene an urgent meeting with Eskom which will include community representatives,” he said.
Sawant said it was hoped the engagement would ensure Eskom put in place immediate measures to fast track efficient services and comply with its constitutional mandate.
“In the meantime, we will continue to process all problems sent to us and keep proper records of our interactions with Eskom,” he said.
Nissen said: “I met with the councillor and the committee and they told me the problems caused by cable theft is a society problem. There is a family that has been without electricity since last year. In Diepwater people get robbed in the dark.
“Eskom must also come to the party. People took me to their homes, and their boxes aren’t working. It’s not only about the outages. People live for two months without electricity. Some diabetics can’t store their insulin in the fridge.”
He said he spoke to the regional manager to set up a meeting with community leaders and he hoped for a fruitful outcome.
Eskom’s Stakeholder management and industry support team said Wesbank customers continued to experience electricity supply problems due to cable theft and vandalism of the power utility’s infrastructure.
In a statement they said: “The continuous vandalism of Eskom infrastructure and cable theft in Wesbank are causing multiple network faults that are leaving customers without electricity for prolonged periods.
“Eskom understands the frustration of the affected customers as it experiences its own frustrations in having to repeatedly repair and replace vandalised equipment. This has led to a major backlog of faults in the area.
“Eskom met with the Wesbank community leadership on Thursday, June 8, to address electricity-related issues affecting the community.
“Eskom has appealed to the community of Wesbank to kindly assist to safeguard the Eskom network and equipment that is installed for the provision of quality electricity supply services.”
Eskom said a sustainable solution to the problem was through the collaboration with community services, and for the public to report useful information that could lead to the arrest of perpetrators.
It appealed to the public to report anyone involved in these illegal activities. Contact the Eskom toll-free crime hotline on 0800 112722, or provide information at a police station. Callers may remain anonymous.
“The MyEskom Customer App and the Alfred Chatbot allows users to log a fault immediately, and provides a reference number needed to track progress on the fault. Alternatively, customers can contact the Share Call number on 08600 37566, or email [email protected].