Pretoria - Residents of Lebanon in Pretoria were grateful yesterday to finally have their electricity reconnected.
They had been living in the dark for a week after disconnection by residents from Slovo in Winterveldt.
They protested after growing frustrated that their neighbours had disconnected their power. The Slovo residents had taken matters into their own hands, unhappy that Eskom had not repaired damage to the infrastructure in the area, citing illegal connections.
Protests ensued in these communities, including some sections of Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa. Eskom then suspended operations in the area due to “violent protests” to protect its employees.
However, this left many frustrated because they had to throw away food and find alternative means to keep households going, while small businesses had to close and send their employees home.
Tokelo Mathebula, one of the small business owners, said without electricity he could not operate. “Our biggest frustration was that while our neighbours cut our connection due to jealousy, we were also faced with an audit to find out who among us was paying and who was stealing electricity.
“The problem is that when it happens Eskom punishes the entire community by not coming to (do repairs). That leaves a lot of good people who buy their electricity in the dark.
“What angered us, as the people of Lebanon, was their communique that they suspended operations in our area because of violent protests. That was a lie. There were barely any protests and even when we did it was to get their attention so they could come (and) reconnect our lights, not to chase their employees away.”
Michael Mosehla, another resident, said every day that went by without electricity was an added cost to the disadvantaged members of the community, who had to buy food every day and give their children money for lunch instead of preparing food for them at home.
Eskom had yet to comment on the matters raised by the residents by the time of publication.