JOHANNESBURG - Protesting members of the ANC in Johannesburg handed over a memorandum to power utility Eskom at its Megawatt Park offices on Tuesday.
The protesters demanded that power be restored in all Johannesburg areas experiencing blackouts. Some of the areas, including Ivory Park, Soweto, Orange Farm and Diepsloot, went without power for three months, said caucus leader Geoff Makhubo.
"The electricity cuts become worse during [the] winter season. Residents find themselves plunged into darkness, there are communities who've gone without electricity for three months. This is a yearly occurrence and erodes trust in us as leaders, and also puts [the] lives of councillors in danger. Our councillors have been attacked and their homes set alight because of Eskom's intransigence," Makhubo told Eskom officials as he handed over the memorandum of demands.
"The ANC caucus has tried to engage with the power utility for well over five years in an attempt to find a practical and lasting solution to this power supply challenge. We appeal to Eskom to handle this matter with the urgency it deserves and ensure that they give us a lasting solution. We will await the entity’s response on the matter and vow that we will not back down until the matter has been resolved."
Makhubo said although his party supported Eskom's call to residents to pay their electricity bills, he urged Eskom to not resort to "collective punishment" in their pursuit to get residents to pay up.
The troubled power utility is owed at least R15 billion in unpaid bills by Soweto residents. This adds on to defaulting municipalities across the country which fail to pay Eskom for the bulk power supply service and owe billions of rands.
African News Agency (ANA)