Electricity staff too scared to work

Picture: Bianca du Plessis

Picture: Bianca du Plessis

Published Feb 1, 2016

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Durban - Almost two weeks after an angry mob threatened to kill them if they went out on jobs, terrified eThekwini electricity department staff remain holed up at their depots, with the halt in work wreaking havoc across the city.

Last month, theDaily News reported that the city’s electricity department workers had received death threats from an aggressive group that had visited one of its depots, demanding management not let staff out of the facility on jobs, and threatening to shoot anyone seen driving an electricity unit or Durban metro vehicle.

A source within the department said they had not gone out to work on the weekend.

After being without electricity for 12 days, a Chatsworth resident, who asked not to be named, said on Monday she was at her wits’ end.

“Our fridge isn’t working, we’re throwing out groceries daily,” she said. “We can’t cook or iron and we have to take cold showers.”

And a Montclair pensioner, who also asked not to be named and who has been without electricity for several days, said the meat in her fridge was rotting and she feared for her safety in the wake of news that angry protesters, in the same boat as herself, had taken to the streets.

Residents of Umbilo’s Dalton Hostel who had not had electricity for three days tipped over rubbish bins and looted shops on Wednesday night.

They left a trail of destruction in their wake and rotting meat and shattered glass lay strewn across the streets the next day.

Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, said protesters had barricaded Sydney Road with burning tyres and rubbish.

Gunshots were heard in the crowd and a police officer at the scene said he and his colleagues were fired at with AK-47 rifles. Zwane said no injuries were reported.

“The police managed to control the situation and the crowd was dispersed,” he said.

Daily News

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