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Msunduzi mayor tells protesters who blocked road for 2 days to ‘pay something’ to avert power cuts

  • Dec 8, 2021
  • 42 views
Source: 
The Mercury

DURBAN - VULINDLELA residents in Pietermaritzburg have been warned to pay “something” towards their electricity accounts to avoid the power utility cutting supply to the area for extended periods.

The warning comes after residents blocked roads with unbroken beer and cold drink bottles, protesting against protracted power outages.

Msunduzi Municipality mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said that yesterday in their engagements with Eskom they were informed that the residents were not paying for electricity, urging those who could afford to, to do so.

Thebolla said the council had dispatched senior political leaders to quell a protest by community members as the protest entered its second day.

Vulindlela is about 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre, between the Edendale and Boston areas.

Residents closed the main artery, Moses Mabhida (Bulwer) Road, which connects the area to the city centre and the city centre to the Underberg area.

By yesterday afternoon, Thebolla said, other council members had engaged with some of the communities affected. He was optimistic that clean-up operations would begin shortly, so the road could be opened.

“The people are complaining about power outages, but the area in question is not supplied by the municipality. We have engaged with Eskom and Eskom’s argument is that people in that area are not paying for electricity,” he said.

Thebolla urged the community to pay the electricity provider. The municipality intended to register all those who qualify for free basic service under the indigent policy, he said.

Some local residents took to social media to complain about the protest, saying it could cost them their jobs.

Eskom’s media desk said in a statement that it was aware of the protests. The outages were due to the implementation of load reduction in areas prone to network overloading.

The power utility said this was done to protect the network and ensure the safety of the public, as overloading on the Eskom electrical network could result in damage to infrastructure through explosions of transformers and mini-substations.

“On a daily basis, during morning and evening peak hours, electricity supply to identified feeders is switched off for a four hour period to prevent damage to electricity infrastructure through explosions of transformers and mini-substations that occur as a direct result of network overloading.

“Not only can Eskom not afford the repeated replacing of transformers, but we have a duty to protect our equipment where overloading poses a continuous threat to expensive infrastructure,” said Eskom.

THE MERCURY

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