Pretoria - Mabopane residents north of Pretoria have joined hands to protect their valuable infrastructure following repeated attacks on electricity transformers and mini-substations.
The residents, who requested to remain anonymous, said the attacks on their electricity boxes and mini-substations, some of which are located just outside their houses or adjoined to the homes, began just after June 16.
They said an electricity box in the area was set alight in the early hours of June 17, which left close to 97 houses without power for days on end.
Upon approaching Eskom in their area to reconnect the electricity and raise their concerns about the attacks, they were sent back as the power utility told them that areas such as Mabopane, Soshanguve, and Ga-Rankuwa were considered red zones.
As a result, they claimed, the officials said they would not be able to assist them as their officials had been threatened with some of their vehicles being hijacked when attending to reports.
“There were cars roaming around at odd hours of the night. The rumour was that neighbouring Slovoville settlement residents were behind the attacks as they wanted to force Eskom to act. In my case one of the mini-substations is right outside my doorstep; should it explode my entire family will be at risk. I had to do something.”
As a result, community members contributed R110 each to erect c-channels made out of industrial metal to block access to the substations, while taking turns guarding throughout the night.
“They keep telling us to raise our issues with our local councillors but we don’t even know that person. When it was level 5 of the lockdown the government had sent police and soldiers but when things like this happen everyone digs their heads in the sand.”
The residents opted to take up protecting their infrastructure as replacing a mini-substation would force them to cover the R1 million cost, forking out R10 000 per house.