Angry Adams Mission residents block road over power outages

Community members cut down trees to block roads and burned wires and tires to prevent any flow of traffic on the R603 road. Picture: Xolile Mtembu / IOL News

Community members cut down trees to block roads and burned wires and tires to prevent any flow of traffic on the R603 road. Picture: Xolile Mtembu / IOL News

Published Mar 6, 2024


Residents of Adams Mission, a township on the south of Durban, have taken to the streets to protest an electricity outage that is said to have started on Sunday.

Angry members of the community have blocked roads with tree logs and have burned tyres on the R603 road.

A protesting man who is on the electricity committee in the area, but who asked to remain anonymous, said they have been having prolonged electricity troubles for over 10 years.

“We have written a petition letter to the councillor and he did not show up to a meeting we had arranged. We were not given a reason for his failure to show.

“Another letter was written and sent to the office detailing the issues of electricity and water that we are dealing with. This useless councillor has not done his duty and served the community,” he said.

Residents have had to throw out meat and other produce due to it being spoiled, he said.

“We are severely affected as people have had to skip work and the children not go to school.”

Residents said the protests were expected to continue until power was restored.

Mbali, a woman who wished that her surname be not revealed said the leaders that were chosen to represent the community simply do not care and are incompetent.

“It feels like this strike is going to be a waste of time because they have it all (electricity and water), while we suffer so they are not concerned as it does not affect them,” she said.

“Food is expensive and now we have rotten meat in our fridges. We elevated people like the councillor to a position of power but now we are left in the dust. I feel for my safety because I know that the police will arrive and possibly remove us by using tears gas and shooting rubber bullets or worse,” she continued.

Phakamani Dlamini, the public relations officer of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) said he was assigned to check on the protest by the community safety liaison.

“This is an illegal protest so they said they will bring a special task team from the South African Police Service (SAPS) but they still have not... Since the municipality is attempting to fix the problem, another issue is that of cable theft.

“We should resolve the matter so that cars can have access to the road so that the business of the day can resume. We plead to members of the community to stop the illegal protest because they are making others struggle and suffer,” Dlamini said.

One of numerous road blockages set up by Adams Mission residents in electricity protest. Picture: Xolile Mtembu / IOL News

Local councillor Thembelihle Makhanya said the blocking of the road was unnecessary and disruptive to community and motorists.

According to Makhanya, he is not certain of the cause of the electricity cut but said he suspected cable theft.

“Usually there are electrical faults in the ward because of cable theft, tripping caused by an overload on the system or more.”

“Because of its own strike, the municipality is not operating as it normally does. We had bad luck with the electricity while we can not get the help we need,” said Makhaya.

He said the matter would only be resolved once the eThekwini municipality strike ends.

Craig, a businessman from Eston, was frustrated by the protest as he often uses the road for work.

“I find it very frustrating with these protests. But I also understand the frustrations of the people. Going forward, I think the failure is on the government and it is affecting us, businesses and people’s lives Hopefully, something can be done soon.”