1800 09.7.30 City Power employees were still cleaning out the tunnels and replacing the burnt electricity cables. Power was in short supply in the Jhb CBD this week as a result of the fire which is believed to have been caused by cable thieves. Picture: Cara Viereckl

Johannesburg - City Power employees are believed to be on a go-slow strike – but the municipal entity has denied this.

In the past two weeks, several northern and western suburbs have experienced a spate of power cuts, and residents and ward councillors said these were not being attended to quickly. They said employees they had spoken to had confirmed they were on a go-slow.

Councillor Amanda Forsythe of the Melville area said there appeared to be a “silent boycott” by City Power employees.

She had experienced outages in Melville, Victory Park, Greenside and Emmarentia. “The number is very unusual, and even if it was normal outages, it is now taking between 24 and 48 hours to do repairs, whereas before this, it took a few hours.”

One Melville resident had been without electricity since Friday afternoon.

Forsythe also questioned why several reported outages were marked as “resolved” on the system when they were not.

“No one is giving us feedback any more. I, and other councillors, have taken this directly to senior officials, and they, too, have stopped responding to us.”

Councillors noticed that at the weekend, residents were unable to log any complaints on the City Power website. When they complained, they were told that it was because of routine maintenance on the website.

The City of Joburg call centre phones were also not answered at the weekend, said Forsythe.

Councillor Tim Truluck of the Parkhurst area also said he had never experienced as many cuts as in the past two weeks, since City Power staff threatened to strike over claims of irregularities around the tender process for smart meters.

City Power denied that employees were on a go-slow.

Spokesman Sol Masolo said a probe was launched of the allegations made in the Mail & Guardian. “Our employees requested a meeting after the story broke, and demanded the managing director’s suspension, which was refused. We have an independent firm conducting the investigation. There are processes to follow and we are doing so.”

The Star