Cape Town - Macassar outside Somerset West, was “the darkest community” in the province, with prolonged electricity outages and community leaders blaming it on failing Eskom infrastructure.
Their frustration has pushed ward councillor Peter Helfrich to call on President Cyril Ramaphosa for intervention.
Helfrich said residents were “gatvol” and, due to this, he had penned an open letter to Ramaphosa.
“Ward 109 is one of the darkest places to live in South Africa.
“When these ongoing prolonged power outages occur, the ward feels as if it becomes almost as dark as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
“No residents should have to live like this. Residents are gatvol and are demanding urgent action from Eskom and the president.
“This community on some days only has power for a few hours and on other days has no electricity at all.
“These power outages are a direct result of failing Eskom infrastructure or a failure by Eskom to protect the infrastructure from vandals in certain hot spots.
“I have tried my level best to take up these issues with Eskom but have had no success, therefore my letter for intervention from the president. All I can say is, no person deserves to live like this,” said Helfrich.
Community activist and Macassar resident Felicity Solomons said: “Residents sometimes go to bed hungry.
“Others cannot go to work. Businesses are closing their doors. It feels like we are steadily moving back to the dark ages.
“Helfrich has tried his best to take this matter up with Eskom but does not seem to get their co-operation.
“It is time for the president to intervene.”
Eskom said cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure in Macassar were rife.
It said repairs were in progress and should be concluded in the coming weeks.
“The unrelenting cable theft and vandalism of Eskom infrastructure in Macassar that leads to prolonged outages continues to be a burden for customers in affected areas.
“Eskom regularly engages its stakeholders from the area who are aware of the serious challenges that Eskom faces on a weekly basis.
"On 1 May 2023, the Oklahoma substation, which supplies a large part of Macassar, was broken into and severely vandalised during the daytime four-hour load-shedding slot.
“This left customers without electricity supply.”
Meanwhile a transformer caught fire at the Cloetesville Substation, leaving customers in Cloetesville, Stellenbosch, without electricity supply since Monday afternoon, Eskom said on Tuesday.
“Eskom technicians have concluded repairs restoring supply to the substation at approximately 5.30pm (Tuesday).
“The Stellenbosch Municipality is currently busy with their own restoration plan and are responsible for restoring supply to its customers.
“The estimated time for customer supply restoration will therefore be communicated by the municipality.
The cause of the incident is yet to be determined while operators are still conducting an investigation.”