Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said that the City was committed to assist the residents of Zandspruit informal settlement by engaging with Eskom in order to fast-track the process of electrifying the area. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Friday said that the City was committed to assist the residents of Zandspruit informal settlement by engaging with Eskom in order to fast-track the process of electrifying the area.

Mashaba met with leaders from the Zandspruit community on Friday following the passing of two children, aged 11 and 15, after they were electrocuted by live wires in the informal settlement north of Johannesburg last week. 

The incident sparked a community protest in which members demanded that the city deals with illegal connections and alleged syndicates in the area. According to the City, about 19 000 people in Zandspruit are affected by illegal connections, and about half of the area is not electrified. 

In a statement, Mashaba said that national government's budget for electrifying the area had been rolling over for a number of years despite the community having sought assistance from the previous administration in the City.

"Under the new administration, the City had begun engagements with Eskom with the view of electrifying Zandspruit. Indeed, in September, the City submitted the necessary applications to begin the process of providing electrification to the area," Mashaba said.

"The area in question is one which is operated by Eskom and will require the Department of Energy and Eskom to provide assistance. Whilst the City is committed to assisting our residents where possible, ultimately, the primary responsibility for electrification in Zandspruit rests with Eskom and the department of energy."

Mashaba also said he had committed the City's housing department to working with the community with respect to building affordable housing for members of the community.

"In addition to this, the local ward councillor and members of the community raised concerns regarding the population density of the area, driven by inward migration into area by alleged undocumented immigrants," Mashaba said.

"I will be writing to the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba, requesting that his department perform and audit of the area and ensuring that those without documents are properly processed."

African News Agency (ANA)