Johannesburg - Residents at the Reuven Old Age Complex in West Turffontein, Joburg say they are living in fear and misery as they go for three to four days without power.
84-year-old pensioner Caroline Bruyns, who lives at the residence, but had to move in with her daughter because of the lack of electricity, said most of the residents at the old age complex ranged from 80 to 90 years of age and were helpless when criminals broke in.
Bruyns said with no electricity, they had to use the little pension money they had to buy fast food but they were scared because they did not know who was lurking in the dark.
“We are having a break-in every week and they are taking all the fusses and cutting cables to the sub-station at Reuven,” she said.
Bruyns said they had been going to City Power, which kept reaffirming that they would send someone to deal with the matter, but nothing further was done.
“They then turn around and say that we must have the sub-station locked, but it exploded about two years ago, it’s just by luck that my son was there and he managed to sort that out.”
She said the pensioners went for days without eating and the cold weather also affected them badly when they did not have electricity.
“They keep hitting Reuven all the time, they keep hitting different blocks. We had a meeting last week trying to find out how it’s happening and how they get in because we’ve got security there,” she said.
Bruyns thinks that they are just letting anybody in and out and they were in constant fear.
“I was there for a month and they took all four tyres off my car and put my car on bricks,” she said.
She added that three weeks ago, City Power told the residents that the fusses that were stolen were too old and did not have them anymore so they had to bypass the fusses.
“Near block 21 they have done the same and they have the cheek to say we must sort it out. Why must we sort out their problem; it’s their problem, they must come and fix it,” added Bruyns.
City Power spokesperson Issac Mangena said the Reuven Service Delivery Centre was unfortunately not aware of this issue, and it was the first this matter had been escalated to the Service Delivery Centre general manager.
Mangena said a team was dispatched yesterday to investigate the issue and commence repairs and restoration processes.
“Cable theft and infrastructure vandalism continue to lead to significant financial losses and frequent power supply interruption to our residents. City Power loses over R4 billion across the City from cable theft and vandalism every year. Over the past three weeks, City Power Security Risk Management Control Room has recorded close to 150 incidents of theft and vandalism,” said Mangena.
Mangena also said in April, City Power communicated that materials required for repairs were increasingly becoming difficult to source as they got depleted faster than they procured them, resulting in prolonged power outages as their team battled to repair and restore power in some cases.
“For example, we have so far this year used 27 000 cable joints – an amount we used in three years in the previous years. This is further compounded by load shedding which is causing more shocks and challenges for City Power’s infrastructure, and by extension, the customers,” he said.
Mangena said City Power lost about R3.6m daily due to load shedding, and the current higher stages of load shedding did not help.
“However, we are in constant engagement with our suppliers regarding materials and have been getting deliveries of various stock materials such as MV cables, LV cables, mini sub-stations, Bulk Metering Kiosk, breakers and joints daily,” he said.
He said residents were encouraged to continue being vigilant against the destruction of infrastructure and to report any suspicious activity around their infrastructure on 011 490 7553, 0800 116 166 or send a WhatsApp (message) to 083 579 4497.