Kliptown residents fuming after crackdown on illegal connections
“WE DON’T steal electricity. We’re taking it because our government has failed to deliver on its promises.”
This was said by Kliptown resident Sharon Swartz during a protest against the cutting off of illegal connections in one of the informal settlements in the area.
Swartz is one of the residents living in back-to-back shacks and a few dilapidated brick houses with no electricity or proper toilets.
Residents said they were still depending on communal taps for water and use portable toilets. The residents have for years embarked on service delivery protests, but said nothing had changed.
Yesterday’s protest was sparked by the arrival of City Power workers at about 10am. They had come to cut illegal electricity connections and remove wires running from high-mast light poles and through the informal settlement into shacks.
Residents took to the streets in protest and barricaded Boundary Road between Kliptown and Eldorado Park with rocks and burning tyres.
Swartz said many people in Kliptown, including babies, had HIV/Aids. Without electricity, their medication could not be refrigerated.
“People are getting sick from paraffin fumes and no one cares.”
Another resident, Theresa van Schalkwyk, said: “If they can install high-mast light in the area, why can’t they give us electricity in our shacks?”
Meanwhile, although there had been running battles between police and the protesters, and City Power spokesman Louis Pieterse confirmed that their workers had gone to cut illegal connections in Kliptown, police could not confirm the incident.
Cluster spokeswoman Captain Nondumiso Mpantsha referred The Star to the provincial police spokeswoman, Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale, who promised to “check for (The Star) when I get time to do so”.
He never did by the time of publication.