Law enforcement officers clear the Stellenbosch arterial road near Blackheath, where protesters yesterday obstructed traffic with burning tyres. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)
Law enforcement officers clear the Stellenbosch arterial road near Blackheath, where protesters yesterday obstructed traffic with burning tyres. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Sofiatown residents protest lack of service delivery, disconnection of electricity

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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Cape Town – Sofiatown informal settlement residents took to the streets yesterday, protesting a lack of services and the disconnection of electricity.

Resident and community spokesperson Monde Njokweni said illegal electrical connections in the area near Blackheath had been disconnected by Eskom.

“The community mobilised and shut down intersections along the Stellenbosch Arterial, Range and Wimbledon roads in Blackheath Industria as well as Sunbird Drive. These are intersections around the informal settlement.

“There is no electricity, a lack of sanitation and our plight so far has fallen on deaf ears. However, we are planning to meet with ward councillor Ebrahim Sawant, who came out to engage the community to hear what our demands were,” said Njokweni.

According to Njokweni, the community had reached a point of anger after years of unsuccessful engagements to have basic service delivery in their community. He said they had asked for electrification at the site as well as sanitation and ablution facilities.

He admitted that there had been illegal electricity connections.

Ward councillor Ebrahim Sawant said he had engaged residents and was set to have a meeting with Njokweni and other community leaders today.

Eskom spokesperson Kyle Cookson said the neighbouring area, Sunbird Park, suffered intermittent electricity interruptions due to the illegal connections.

“Eskom technicians are repeatedly called out to remove the connections and restore the supply, most recently doing so last Tuesday, June 23.

“However, once repairs are completed and electricity supply is restored, the illegal connections are replaced as soon as technicians leave the area. 

"Electrification of areas is the sustainable solution, but only once an area is proclaimed to be developed, and services and houses are on the ground, can electrification take place. 

"Sofiatown cannot be electrified as the land is privately owned,” said Cookson.

Cape Times

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