Cape Argus: Reconnect illegal power cables, Eskom hears

Friday, August 29, 2008

Reconnect illegal power cables, Eskom hears

Angry Khayelitsha residents have threatened to burn down ward councillors houses if they are not given electricity, after their illegal cables were cut.

The residents from the Island, an informal settlement in Site C, told the Cape Argus on Thursday that they would take action if their complaints were not heard by councillors and Mayor Helen Zille.

The Island residents protested and blocked Lansdowne Road after they said that Eskom and Metro Police had cut the cables running to neighbouring areas with legal electricity.

On a visit to the area on Thursday, the Cape Argus was told by residents that the Island had relied on these illegal connections for electricity for past 16 years.

They said they had spent thousands of rands buying the cables that were now useless.

They said they had no choice but to connect illegally because they had no jobs. They said they used the electricity to open shops in the area.

Spaza shop owner Lucy Dlokolo, 53, said she would lose business because her meat would rot.

“I am worried that my meat worth R2 000 will be rotten and who is going to buy it now? How am I going to survive?”

The residents said that at night, streets in the Island area were dark and residents feared they could be mugged.

They said they had resorted to using paraffin for energy, but were worried accidents could result in fires that might destroy their shacks.

The residents also complained about sewage, which posed a health hazard, especially to their children.

Resident Patricia Dywili said her child who drowned in the sewage in 2003.

“I am still mourning.”

Ward councillor Jacky Solizwe told the Cape Argus that residents had chosen to live in the area, and he was doing everything he could to help them.

“I did not put them there but I have organised a meeting for them with the mayor.”

When the Cape Argus asked what he planned to do to prevent residents from causing further damage, he responded: “I cannot stand before the people, because they have the right to do whatever they can to achieve what they want.”

The communications officer at the mayor’s office, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said: “We have heard the people’s concern, but it is unfortunate that we cannot install electricity in that place because it has a lot of water that could pose a risk to them. ”

“On September 3 we have scheduled a meeting with the ward councillor and the mayor so that we can try and find a solution we will all be happy about.”

He said he hoped the community would be relocated to a safer area and a piece of land had been identified. – Cape Argus