The EFF has criticised Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s electrification programme in areas such as Soweto and the Vaal.
In the past few weeks, Lesufi has criss-crossed affected communities and restored power to Soweto communities through the transformer repair and re-installation programme.
Lesufi had said the reason for widespread power issues in some of the townships was because of illegal connections and overload from high demand. That had resulted in damage to infrastructure and burnt transformers. In other instances, the power issues were also a result of vandalism and theft.
The EFF has denounced Lesufi’s programme.
“The EFF in Gauteng strongly condemn Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s false claims of replacing burnt and faulty electricity transformers across communities in the province. Through the deceptive Switch-on programme, the premier falsely takes credit for replacing transformers, while, in reality, community members were compelled to make financial contributions for Eskom to perform these replacements,” said EFF provincial chairperson Nkululeko Dunga.
Last week, during a meeting at the Kopanong Community Hall, Lesufi had promised community members from Dobsonville, Zola and Emndeni that their electricity issues would be resolved before Christmas.
Some of the communities have spent more than three years without power, Dunga said.
“Communities Panyaza purports to electrify have endured two to three years in darkness due to burnt transformers from load shedding. This has caused serious economic and social ramifications. Households have resorted to unconventional and dangerous methods for lighting and cooking, resulting in house fires and tragic loss of life.
“Additionally, small businesses that were already struggling amid load shedding caused by the very same ANC government, have had to close down because Panyaza Lesufi has subjected them to a perpetual state of darkness,” he said.
Lesufi has defended himself against accusations that his efforts were part of electioneering, saying the reasons behind the issues stemmed from the previous administration which had failed residents.
After a successful re-electrification programme this weekend, Lesufi said he had his sights set on electrifying Sebokeng, Braamfischer, Orange Farm, Springs KwaThema and Meadowlands this week.
“Today, we are switching on Ivory Park, then followed by Sebokeng and Soweto. Our mission is to reconnect the entire Gauteng as speedily as possible. Less talk, more work,” he said.