Category Archives: The Post

The Post: Calm restored after electricity protest

Calm restored after electricity protest

August 15 2012 at 09:58am
By Viasen Soobramoney

Durban – Homeowners of Palmiet Road in Clare Estate were trapped in their homes on Sunday as residents from the nearby informal settlement clashed with eThekwini Municipality officials trying to remove illegal electricity connections.

Residents of the settlement barricaded roads, burnt tyres and stoned municipal vehicles and the private security company guarding council officials.

“We were trapped in our homes and terrified. The workers from the electricity department were being stoned and then there were gun shots. It was really scary. We didn’t know what would happen next. Fortunately the protesters did not damage our property. They just prevented the council from removing their electricity,” said a resident who refused to be named.

Another resident said he supported the municipality’s actions because often he was left without electricity because informal settlers had been stealing electricity causing faults with the power supply.

“We are tired of these power outages. We sometimes go for hours without electricity because of illegal connections and we are the ones paying for it,” he said .

Mnikelo Ndabankulu, spokesman for Informal residents group, Abahali Base Mjondolo, said the only option for the municipality was to electrify the informal settlement.

“Nobody will accept not having electricity when others have it just around the corner.

“These illegal connections are known as ‘peoples connections’ because the people are doing it for themselves when the council cannot provide for them.

“Nobody has said that these informal residents would not pay for electricity if it was provided. They are willing to pay,” said Ndabankulu.

eThekwini municipality spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said council would continue to remove illegal electricity connections.

“We have an ongoing programme to remove illegal electricity connections and we will continue with it. There is a programme to roll out interim services to these informal residents but they must remain patient. We cannot condone violence,” said Mofokeng.

Police confirmed the incident. “A case of public violence is being investigated by Sydenham SAPS. It was reported that the municipality employees were at Palmiet Road to disconnect illegal electrical connections in the area.

“The Sydenham community members mobilised and attacked the municipality employees. No arrests have been made as yet and no injuries were reported,” said police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane. – POST

Note: The Palmiet Road settlement is not affiliated to AbM

The Post: Illegal power cuts puts area in darkness – Sub-station bombed

Illegal power cuts puts area in darkness
Sub-station bombed

August 27, 2008 Edition 1


AN INTIMIDATING note, left behind after a sub-station, which generates electricity in Maynard Road, Sea Cow Lake, was blown up, has sparked fear among residents.

The note, according to the concerned community who believe those responsible for blowing up the sub-station were from a nearby informal settlement, stated: “If we cannot have electricity no one can”.

The incident occurred last Wednesday night and no arrests have been made. Municipal workers repaired the sub-station and restored electricity three days later, according to frustrated resident Roy Thakurdin, 57, a self-employed businessman, who complained they are “constantly in darkness” due to frequent and illegal power cuts by vandals.

When POST visited the area recently, residents complained they had witnessed informal settlers, who reside adjacent to Maynard Road, illegally dig the road to run electrical cables, so they could obtain electricity from light poles to the informal settlement.

Residents’ electricity cuts off at least four times a week, leaving them with minimum power of four hours per day.

“This problem started two years ago before the Eskom power cuts and has recently escalated to daily power cuts.

“As ratepayers we are entitled to electricity. I tried to contact the municipality and our ward councillor, but received no response. If the matter is not dealt with, residents are going to form a trust account via an attorney and deposit our money meant for rates into that account until the problem is resolved,” said Thakurdin.

Bimal Maharaj, 47, a Hindu priest of Maynard Road, said: “I am fed up! Two Sundays ago our electricity was interrupted four times. I tried to take the issue up with the city manager, Mike Sutcliffe, and our ward councillor, Rabi Gobind, but there has been no improvement.

“The squatters’ electricity problems are the municipality’s concern, not ours. We want our electricity to be connected all the time.”

A grade 12 pupil of Effingham Secondary School, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, said: “Last Thursday night I was printing work off my computer for the next day’s moderation when the lights went out.

“I have been reduced to studying by candle light which is frustrating. I am concerned about my performance in the current trial examination.”

A Telkom quality officer, said: “The electricity issue has been raging for months.

“I sent several e-mails to the municipality but have received no response.

“If the municipality can provide water and sanitation for squatters, why can’t they provide us with electricity?”

A part-time 42-year-old teacher said: “I am cooking on a gas stove and simple tasks like preparing a meal has become difficult. The food in our refrigerator is often spoilt.”

The area’s ward councillor, Rabi Gobind, said he had raised the community’s electricity concerns with council. The matter was addressed by the Infrastructure Committee which requested an official investigation into the matter.

“Once the investigation is complete and we receive permission from council to contact the land owners, in which the informal settlers are currently occupying, we can request their permission to install temporary electricity boxes on their properties, which will provide power for the settlement.”

Govind, a resident of Effingham Heights, added: “This is a lengthy process and will take time.

“I am sympathetic towards the problems residents face and am trying to resolve the issues speedily.”

Sew Harilal, the deputy head of electricity sales and service at the eThekwini Municipality, said: “We have cleared out squatters alongside the Kenville area, where residents are experiencing similar illegal power cuts and, like Kenville, we are trying to introduce 24-hour security patrols in Sea Cow Lake. These security checks will help identify the culprits.”

Nathi Nkwanyana, a senior manager of Revenue Protection of the electricity department, said security checks in Sea Cow Lake would start this week.

“We have requested more teams to join the patrol so more areas can be covered,” said Nkwanyana.

“The council is trying to allocate land for housing for informal settlers, not only in Sea Cow Lake, but all areas that face similar problems.

“If these plans progress, we will introduce an electricity card system, known as a prepaid meter, which does not require any type of connection.”

Mercury: Court halts landlord’s threats

The Mercury

Court halts landlord’s threats

October 08, 2007 Edition 2


Three Motala Heights residents are sleeping happily at night, secure in the knowledge that their landlord cannot bulldoze their homes.

They were recently granted an urgent interdict in the Durban High Court, which prevents their landlord, Ricky Govender, from making good on his promise to destroy their homes if they did not vacate them.

Govender has been trying to evict the residents from his land for the past five years as he wants to develop it. However, the residents claim they have nowhere to go as the government has not provided houses for them.

They allege that Govender has intimidated them by dumping waste from his glass factory almost literally on their doorsteps, burning plastic waste near their homes and threatening to bulldoze their homes.

One resident also alleges that Govender threatened to have her killed at a cost of R50.

Govender wants to put up a high-cost housing development in the area and is adamant he is within his rights to have the tenants evicted.

In his founding affidavit, James Pillay said Govender had threatened to bulldoze his home, which he shared with his wife, and also the home of Mallie Govender, another resident, if they did not vacate the houses by the end of September.


Pillay and his wife, Gonum, built their home 25 years ago, while Mallie Govender built her house 16 years ago. She has been living in Motala Heights for the past 32 years.

They had paid rent to the land owner since moving on to the property. However, in 2002 they were informed that Govender had bought the land and that the rent should be paid to him. The rent is currently R150 a month.

In September 2007, Pillay was asked to meet Govender at the gates of his property.

“He insisted that I move out as he intended to construct factories on the property. I reiterated that I simply could not move.

“At that point, he called his brothers, who came out of the house and started harassing me and pushing me.

“They said that I had better leave by the end of September 2007, or else they would throw everything out and bulldoze (my) house,” the affidavit states.

Pillay stated that he was afraid Govender would be true to his word as he owned two bulldozers.

In August, Govender bulldozed the banana trees which grew alongside Mallie Govender’s house.

The interdict ensures that Govender will now have to follow correct court procedures to evict the tenants from their houses.

The Post


October 24, 2007 Edition 1

A MOTALA Heights (near Pinetown) businessman, Rickey Govender, has been restrained via an interim order granted by Judge Leona Theron in the Durban High Court, from evicting a couple and a woman living on his land, without a court order, and from assaulting and harassing them and from bulldozing the two homes.

The applicants were James Pillay and his wife Gonum and Mallie Govender, all of Lot 19, Motala Heights. They claimed they had been living in wood and iron homes there for many years and had paid Govender rent. James Pillay alleged Govender had informed them to vacate the premises because he wanted to construct businesses on the land.

Pillay claimed he, his wife and Mallie Govender had refused to vacate the premises because they had nowhere else to go to. The matter was on the roll again yesterday.