Residents march over 10-hour power cut
Johannesburg - Residents from Orlando West and surrounding areas in Johannesburg on Thursday staged a protest march and demanded a public apology from Eskom over a 10-hour long power outage last week.
About 400 residents took part in the march from the Hector Peterson Memorial to Eskom’s Diepkloof offices where they handed over a memorandum, which amongst other demands, sough an apology from Eskom within 24 hours.
“We are gathered here because of the ill treatment of Eskom to our people…and we are not saying we do not want to pay for electricity,” said Atwell Kamani in a statement at the event. Kamani is the South African National Civil Organisation (SANCO) regional secretary.
Gauteng General Manager of Eskom, Bandile Jack, said that the memorandum, which detailed the residents’ concerns, would be reviewed as soon as possible. Jack explained that the 10-hour cut was due to loadshedding and additional technical difficulties.
Some of the other concerns unhappy residents listed in the memorandum were centred around the installation of energy-saving devices such as solar geysers in the homes of residents, public institutions and local businesses.
In response to this, Jolidee Matongo, the ANC regional spokesperson, said: “ We have seen that other communities have been helped by the installation of solar systems and residents were not spending much on electricity.”
Residents also complained about having to pay an extra fee to middlemen when they purchased pre-paid electricity. They indicated that they preferred that vending machines be installed at local malls and garages to address this issue.
“I am not happy about being charged more money for electricity when I already have to get money to buy electricity to make food for my family. It is very difficult,” said a resident who did not want to be named.
The march followed violent protests that took place in Orlando West last week when residents took to the streets to protest against the installation of pre-paid meters which they believe are more costly in terms of electricity usage.