Picture: Neil Hall/ Reuters.

CAPE TOWN - Eskom on Wednesday issued an appeal to the community of Ivory Park to guarantee its technicians safe access to the area to replace failed transformers and remove illegal connections.

The power utility said the transformers failed due to illegal connections and meter bypasses resulting in network overloading.

Eskom said a meeting with ward councillors, taxi associations and officials from the Johannesburg metro last week collapsed because no agreement could be reached on a "process to engage the community".

‘We would like to urge the community of Ivory Park to collaborate with Eskom to adequately deal with this matter by allowing us access to the area so that we can conduct audits, remove illegal connections, disconnect bypassed meters and issue fines for the contraventions. The intention for the preceding activities is to avoid the repeat of damage to the equipment and electricity network,” said Motlhabane Ramashi, the operations and maintenance manager for Eskom's Gauteng Operating Unit.

He said Eskom had guidelines on replacing failing equipment and would not deviate from it.

Eskom is not in a position to continuously replace failed mini-substations and pole-mounted transformers in areas where the residents are not paying for their electricity. 

"The community of Ivory Park, surrounding areas, and others in similar conditions in Gauteng are urged to collaborate with Eskom to ensure supply is restored and paid for. Eskom employee safety will take priority at all times and the community can assist by submitting a written commitment to Eskom guaranteeing its staff safety and non-interference while they perform their work," Ramashi said.

African News Agency (ANA)