Durban - After a week of protests over electricity, uMngeni Municipality has facilitated talks between Lions River residents and Eskom to reach an understanding and put an end to the protest action.
The Lions River residents were left without electricity for several days after a transformer tripped. It is believed that the transformer had been overloaded due to illegal connections. In response, some residents protested and blocked the R103 road in the area.
UMngeni’s leadership together with ward councillors met with Eskom to try to resolve the matter.
“On Saturday, uMngeni officials which included the deputy mayor Sandile Mnikathi and the speaker, Janis Holmes, paid a visit to the area to try to calm the situation down,” said uMngeni spokesperson Thando Mgaga.
Holmes said that at the meeting, Eskom requested that illegal connections be removed in order for the replacement transformer not to be overloaded.
“In the long term, the power infrastructure must be improved in order to be able to accommodate the growing number of residents in Lions River.
“Eskom also resolved to install a transformer that will only service the school and water pump in the area, this will ensure that the community has water and that learning and exams can take place,” said Holmes.
Holmes said Eskom teams would now be conducting audits in each household in Lions River and fining those who have been tampering with meters.
UMngeni has also committed to intensifying its indigent register campaign in the area for poor households to register for free basic electricity.
The speaker has also invited Eskom to speak in the next council meeting.
“This is done to improve relations between the municipality and the entity, as well as the relations between Eskom and customers,” said Mgaga.
Mgaga added that the Eskom infrastructure replacement problem was not unique in uMngeni.
“Currently four wards in Edendale are going through the same situation. This is happening all over the country where Eskom won’t replace infrastructure until an agreement for payment is done with the parties involved,” she said.