The Rising Sun: Feud over illegal disconnections

Feud over illegal disconnections

The Rising Sun, Overport
29 September 2010

A bitter feud is mounting between residents of Pemary Ridge and the shack dwellers of the Amajondolo Informal Settlement following illegal disconnections of electricity in the area. It’s believed that residents [of the formal houses] were left without electricity for over a day, last week. According to a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of being victimised, electricians from the eThekwini Municipality’s Department of Electricity, came to the settlement and removed illegal cabling last Thursday. “A while later, a group of youngsters, who wore black shirts over their hears to hide their faces, banged the electricity box with sticks which caused sparks and a power outage. We are hard working individuals, diligent ratepayers and we deserve help from the government. This has been going on for years and needs to stop,” the woman said.

However, chairman of the youth committee [of the shack settlement] Scelo Zungu said, “If we cannot have electricity then we all must not have electricity.” He believes that if government provides electricity to them they would not resort to stealing. “We are even willing to pay for electricity. It is our basic human right to have electricity so why must we suffer without it. We don’t mean harm on any of our fellow neighbours but if they (government) don’t listen to us, maybe they will listen to them,” said Zungu.

But the residents’ problems do not end here. In a petition drafted out last year, residents said they are experiencing problems which include dirt being piled up on the periphery everyday, noise disturbances and an increase in house break-ins and carjackings. “We contacted councillor Jayraj Bachu to assist us with these problems but he never responded,” said the resident. Shack dwellers also claim when they need assistance from him, it’s difficult to contact him. “The only time we see him is during elections,” said Zungu.

Chairman of the Reservoir Hills Resident’s and Ratepayer’s Association, Ish Prahladh, who was contacted by the residents, said he will be addressing the situation between the two parties.

At the time of going to press several attempts were made to reach Cllr Bachu for comment but he was unavailable.