Durban community fed up with illegal connections that causes long power outages
Durban - DISGRUNTLED Nagina residents, near Mariannhill, are counting their losses after frequent disruptions to their electricity supply.
For four days last week they did not have electricity allegedly because of illegal connections to a mini sub-station near the informal settlement on Grassmere Drive.
Moses Pillay, Nagina phase 2 Community Policing Forum chairperson, said electricians had replaced the fuse on Friday but did not remove the illegal connections at the sub-station.
Pillay is a shareholder in a poultry business and pony hire. He said the chicken farm had day-old chicks which were dependent on heat lamps. They had 125 chickens in the freezer that had to be thrown away because there was no electricity. They lost R14 000 worth of stock in two months.
“If the chicks die, we lose our next month’s income. There are outages three times a month. It goes on for days. They replace fuses but within an hour or two illegal connections are made. It has a dealt us a blow.
“We have nine ponies and horses. Our enclosure has electric fencing. During power outages they break through the fence and walk on to the road,” Pillay said.
“We have been trading for eight years. How do businesses continue in these conditions?” he asked.
“We suggested that an alarm system be placed on the boxes which the CPF is willing to look after.”
Nagina resident Praveen Mahabeer, who sells fresh fish, said the frequent outages had caused him considerable losses. His microwave and two freezers have malfunctioned and he had to dump his stock because of this.
“What do I do? Who do we claim from? I encourage everyone who had losses during this time to put in a claim to the local municipality,” Mahabeer said.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said Nagina, and every other suburb bordering informal settlements, had experienced power disruptions lately because of overloading of networks. He said in recent weeks, this had been exacerbated by the cold weather.
Mayisela said the electrification of informal settlements is one of the city’s permanent projects set to last as long as new informal settlements continue to emerge.
Mayisela said the faults department becomes overloaded and this leads to longer waiting times for restorations.
Marlene Nair, PR councillor for ward 13 and member of the eThekwini economic development committee said the rise in land invasion in the city and in turn the increase in theft of electricity is a result of people in search of jobs.
“There must be more infrastructural upgrades and business development in outlying parts of the city. Economic development must be decentralized to prevent the influx of people into the city and the strain on service delivery,”Nair added.