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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Power station burns plunges Tembisa into darkness as unrest continues

Tembisa residents continue to barricade the streets as part of the ongoing strike over what they call expensive electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Tembisa residents continue to barricade the streets as part of the ongoing strike over what they call expensive electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Pretoria - Sections of Tembisa that were plunged into darkness after an electricity substation was set alight by protesters will remain without power for now.

According to the City of Ekurhuleni, the blackout will continue because the technicians were not able to access the area and repair the burnt substation.

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“Parts of Tembisa are without power due to a substation that was set alight during a community protest on Monday.

“While the city is aware of the situation regarding the power in the area, technicians are unable to attend to the problem in the area as it remains volatile, thus putting their lives in danger,” the municipality said.

Tembisa residents continue to barricade the streets as part of the ongoing strike over what they call expensive electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

The electricity went off at about 1pm yesterday.

On Monday scores of residents went on a rampage protesting about service and electricity, which they said was expensive.

Chief among their concerns was the failure of Ekurhuleni mayor Tania Campbell to meet them last Friday.

The residents vowed to continue with their protests until Friday when they are next scheduled to meet Campbell.

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Meanwhile, taxi owners in the area said they were fed up with the protest, adding that their families continued to suffer because they could not work since the outbreak of the unrest.

Tensions mounted when a scuffle ensued at the entrance of Hospital View yesterday, where Tembisa Local Taxi Association officials were reprimanding protesters about the matter.

The officials threatened that if the roads were not reopened by today, there would be a lot to answer for.

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“We are giving you until the morning. If these roads are not opened, we will do it ourselves or you will have to answer.

“We don’t want to start a war,“ a taxi association official said.

Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department spokesperson Kelebogile Thipa said yesterday that things were a lot calmer than on Monday.

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“There is a great deal of calmness although people are still disgruntled and others are just taking opportunities that present themselves.

“We are trying to make people realise that the continued protest will in turn show that they are infringing on the basic rights of children because schools are being interrupted.

“The road that we are standing on services two hospitals of Thembisa. Access there is mission impossible; so we are trying to alert them and try to restore order.”

Thipa said there was not much support from the SAPS. “We have been calling the SAPS to come back us up and give us manpower, but to no avail.”

A resident, Pule Matshile, 42, who has been living in Hospital View for more than 30 years, said the community was meeting today to discuss what they should do next.

“We as the community are going to meet.

“On Friday we are expecting the mayor, but we really are not sure if it will happen because she is full of excuses.

“As per the Friday meeting, if things don’t go the way we want we will take a decision as how to proceed.”

Matshile was not impressed by Campbell’s assertion that there were criminal elements at the protest. She was speaking during a television interview on Monday night.

He said: “Where we are now we can’t say that we have had issues. In every situation there will be some elements that will try to derail us. But we have not had such issues.

“She needs to apologise to us. We are not criminals and this woman is not taking us seriously. We cannot protest for our own rights and what belongs to us and be called thieves. We are not thieves.”

Pretoria News

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