An extended power outage in Komani Street left EFF members with no choice but to protest inside the Enoch Mgijima local municipality (EMLM) technical services office last week Monday where they dumped rotten raw meat which they claimed was spoilt by the electricity outage.
Lindani Mdlokolo of the EFF said the five day power interruption had affected daily operations at the party offices situated in the area. “This is an office that works closely with community members We deal with cases affecting community members because when you are the vanguard of the community there are a lot of cases that come to your attention. We have documents that we need to make copies of. For five days we were without electricity. Food that was refrigerated was later rotten as a result of the outage.”
Mdlokolo said an effort to communicate the matter to the ward councillor was made. He said the matter was also reported to some of the EFF members.
“We decided to take this upon ourselves. We had to take out the spoiled food from the refrigerator and show them the situation so they could also experience the pungent odour we were experiencing.”
He added that the outage could have been political sabotage. “This is election time and this office belongs to a political organisation. For them to derail our political programme, power had to be cut off. That is why we had to reach that conclusion.”
When The Rep arrived at the technical services offices, municipal employees who could not bear the stench sat outside as they waited for the building to be cleared.
Mdlokolo indicated that power was restored on Monday.
Meanwhile, residents in Phola Park, Nkululekweni, Khayelitsha, Nomzamo, Railway, Magxaki and Eskom also experienced electricity cuts and had to spend four days without power. The previous week the municipality had indicated on their Facebook page that a power line in the Phola Park area was burnt, resulting in low voltage in those areas. Some households had no electricity while some were unable to connect normally. Amberdale and Madeira were also recently affected due to a cable fault, according to the municipality.
Community members of Mkwayi, Sigxeshe and Mongalo sSreets in Nomzamo have lost appliances, food and their patience due to non-stop power outages.
They say they have been facing electricity hardships for years. Speaking on behalf of the residents after another futile visit to the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality’s technical services department to seek assistance, Nontsikelelo Mahela said they felt they were treated unfairly.
Mahela explained that their power problems got worse in winter. “We only have electricity about twice a week. When it does come back, it goes on and off all the time, sometimes about 10 times a day.”
She stated that their dispute with neighbouring Marikana informal settlement over illegal connections had still not been resolved. According to Mahela, residents of Marikana had started making illegal connections from certain homes in Nomzamo, causing a system overload that resulted in persistent power cuts. The municipality, in partnership with the police, had gone on a door-to-door drive to cut the illegal connections but the problem soon resurfaced. They attributed this to the upcoming local government elections. “Marikana has many potential voters and the municipality would not want to lose those votes. Our issue will probably receive attention only after the elections,” Mahela stated.
She continued: “We have had no electricity for the past two days and we do not know if there will be power when we return home. We do not get help from the technical services department any more. They avoid taking our calls because they know our numbers by now.”
The situation is so bad they have to ask foreign shopowners for airtime to make calls to the municipality. When that does not help, they come together as residents, collect money among themselves and take taxis to the municipal offices.
“My plasma TV was damaged and I had to buy another one. We are struggling despite the fact that we have electricity boards and are paying rates. We are in pain,” said Mahela.
EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa did not respond by the time of going to print.