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Residents of Mabopane, Winterveldt, Ga-Rankuwa demand electricity reconnection

Residents in Mabopane barricaded the roads demanding electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Residents in Mabopane barricaded the roads demanding electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 23, 2022


Pretoria - Frustrated residents north of Pretoria have lambasted Eskom for imposing an umbrella punishment to deal with illegal connections.

They also accused the power utility of “lying” when it said residents were violent towards its employees sent to reconnect electricity.

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After surviving a week without electricity, residents of Mabopane, Winterveldt and Ga-Rankuwa said yesterday they had run out of patience with Eskom, which tweeted it had suspended services due to violent protests in the area.

Lebanon community leader Tshepo Montoedi said his section was initially disconnected by angry residents from Slovo in Winterveldt after Eskom refused to assist them in regaining their power due to high levels of illegal connections in that area.

He said Eskom then decided to conduct an audit in the community to identify households that bypassed the meters and those using illegal electrical tokens. This led to mounting frustration because the entire community was left without electricity.

“We told Eskom that when they come here and reconnect our community, that we are going to escort them to show them that it is safe to work here.

“There has not been a protest in a while in any of the affected communities. Eskom is lying when it talks about violent protests on social media.

“In fact, we said we are willing to engage with them so that those guilty of wrongdoing can make payment arrangements because honest and innocent residents cannot suffer because of other people. We are raising children here. We are running businesses. This is not right,” Montoedi said.

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Ga-Rankuwa and Winterveldt also attacked Eskom on social media for applying the blanket punishment that “violated the rights of honest homeowners and their families, forcing them to live in the dark because their neighbours did something wrong”.

Eskom said services would resume once the areas were deemed safe, because the safety of its employees was a priority.

However, resident Dekeledi Sebeko said it had been quiet, cold and dark and they had to throw away their food due to failure by Eskom to supply electricity.

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Resident Thabo Magwaza said Eskom was playing politics and causing tension between communities. He said Lebanon residents bought electricity, but had been without it for a long time. There were no attempts to restore connection because of people who were not paying.

Residents Tshego Makgabo and Brian Mpofu said Eskom must go house to house to stop the illegal behaviour, otherwise it would lead to violence in communities.

They said this would affect the ANC government in the long run because the number of law-abiding citizens without electrcity was increasing across the country as Eskom continued with its umbrella punishment.

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EFF leader in Tshwane, Obakeng Ramabodu, penned a letter calling on Eskom to restore power to these communities and stop the ill treatment of residents.

“Beyond Eskom’s incompetence, the EFF calls on the Tshwane municipality to take over the supply of electricity in the Winterveldt and Mabopane area.

“This will make it easier to attend to power disruptions with the urgency that is required. In the same manner the municipality is supplying water and some of its inadequate sanitation, the same should be extended for the supply of electricity.

“Furthermore, residents in these communities are poor, therefore they can be conveniently integrated into the municipality’s indigent household programme,” he said.

Ramabodu said the party had consolidated a legal team, led by its regional deputy chairperson Leofi Leshabana, to take on Eskom in helping people get access to basic services.

Eskom had not responded to a list of questions regarding the matter by late yesterday.

Pretoria News