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Rhodesfield residents battle with persistent power outages

The CoE spokesperson, Zweli Dlamini, said the city was aware of the outages and cable theft, vandalism, and infrastructure tampering. The connection of illegal structures/dwellings caused the outages.

Rhodesfield residents have raised concerns regarding the persistent power outages and infrastructure issues in Rhodesfield Ext 1.

The residents said despite repeated complaints and requests for action, the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) has failed to address the critical issues.

The residents provided a record of their daily power struggles from March, during which residents dealt with 68 hours (just over 19 days) without power.

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The longest recorded power outage was 20 hours on March 22.

In April, residents contended with 90 hours without power over seven days.

The longest continuous outage was 81 hours from April 1 to 4.

Up to May 13, residents spent 50 hours without power over five days and the longest continuous outage was 47 hours from May 12 and 14.

“The frequent power outages have caused significant inconvenience and financial losses to the residents.

“I urge the municipality to conduct a thorough investigation into the root causes of these outages and to implement measures to stabilise the electricity supply promptly,” said Nelly Moremi.

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“The non-functional streetlights pose serious safety hazards, especially during the night. The CoE must take immediate action to repair these lights to enhance safety for residents.”

Moremi said the CoE left residents uninformed about the status of infrastructure issues, exacerbating frustrations and concerns.

She said the municipality needed to enhance communication with residents, providing regular updates on issue resolutions and planned actions.

The deteriorating road conditions, characterised by potholes and poor surfaces, are damaging vehicles and pose a significant risk to the safety of motorists and pedestrians. I request prompt attention to address these road defects.

Moremi added numerous tickets have been logged regarding these issues, but they remain unresolved, with no proper responses or updates provided to residents.

“We have been living in Rhodesfield Ext 1 for 26 years and I have witnessed first-hand the deterioration in the recent years, which has accelerated at an alarming rate,” said Ashley Pillay.

“Over the past few weeks, we have been subjected to prolonged power outages, usually over weekends and public holidays. We log calls and send our references to our ward councillor, who escalates it; from there, nothing happens.”

Pillay said council officials ignored them for hours and many times, they only received feedback the next day that CoE was aware of the problem and their technicians were investigating.

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“Many of our residents, including myself, drive around the area only to find nobody is working anywhere. They lie to us and we are taken for fools.

Rhodesfiled Ext 1 substation.

 

The only thing we get is a time for the next update, and then they move the time. Nobody had come back to us and explained exactly what the problem was.“Our councillor has communicated to us, saying he asks for updates, but he is just ignored. He has sent us screenshots proving this.

“Why can the energy department not give our councillor a proper explanation of what the issue is? I can only conclude that they are lying.

“This has inconvenienced my family and me as well as fellow residents. It causes intense distress in our lives.

“Our freezers end up defrosting, and our food goes bad. This has caused us losses of thousands of rands in food, which is already so expensive,” said Pillay.

“It breaks my heart to throw away so much food, which we work so hard for.

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“Some are forced to buy takeouts, which are becoming extremely expensive because of the frequency of these power outages and the period we remain without power.”

The residents said their children are writing exams and forced to study in the dark, yet they pay for services.

“When there is a power outage, it causes immense stress and I cannot stick to my deadlines. I cannot join team meetings with my group members when we have a group assignment due,” said Mickaylin Pillay, a Wits University student.

“The absence of water presents severe hygiene and health challenges, further complicating my daily routine.

Getting to campus on days when there is no electricity or water makes it difficult to get there on time and when there is no electricity for two to three days, it gets harder to get to campus, and every lecture is compulsory,” said Mickaylin.

Another student Daniel Pillay said during April, he had an assignment that was due every Tuesday of the month.
He said each assignment took at least four to five days to complete.

“With the long-lasting power outages, my laptop battery only lasts around three hours before it needs to charge, and I cannot get much work done.

“In the upcoming month of June, my exams will begin, and once again, I will not only stress about my exam but also if I can complete it.

“The exam requires me to have a continuous internet connection. However, with the power outages and no Wi-Fi, this will not be possible. The duration of the exams can last as long as seven hours,” said Daniel.

Nikki Menges said she has lived in this neighbourhood for over 23 years and the quality of service they have received over the last two years has drastically dropped.

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“Yet our bills keep on increasing. When we have issues in the area with water, power, lights and neglected roads, we are ignored and pushed aside.

“It is as if this is not the city’s priority. But we cannot skip our payments or pay late before the city cuts your access to the so-called service,” said Menges.

“Over the last three months, many of us lost thousands worth of food each time there was a problem with the power. They take days to respond to the site and assess the problems at hand. We simply have to suck it up and take the loss because it is not the city’s problem it seems,” she said.

“Our children cannot do their homework properly. We, as parents, have to feed our families with no power.”
She said her son struggles with asthma.

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“He needs his nebulizer to help with his breathing. As a mother, I feel my pleas for help were ignored, and they left us in the dark, quite literally.”

Ward Clr Simon Lapping said he was fully aware of the outages not just in Rhodesfield, but in the entire CoE.

“On many days up to 200 000 people suffer from electricity outages which has a tremendous impact on both industry and our communities,” said Lapping.

“The DA brought a motion to council to insist an audit be done of all cables over 20 years old and that the department draw up a plan with costings to replace aged cables. The coalition rejected the DA’s proposal, as they did not believe there was a problem.

“The DA has also reported the continual outages at NERSA and requested that they investigate this problem.”

Lapping said he was horrified to learn at the IDP a few months back that only about R700 000 was allocated for streetlights when most of the city and its suburbs are in continual darkness.

The CoE spokesperson, Zweli Dlamini, said the city was aware of the outages and cable theft, vandalism, and infrastructure tampering. The connection of illegal structures/dwellings caused the outages.

ALSO READ: #KemptonPower: Estimated restoration time 8pm

Dlamini said a permanent solution to preventing the outages is the arrest and imprisonment of perpetrators.

“We receive and attend to all complaints logged via the call centre and other council complaints registration platforms such as the CoE app. As and when we get the information, we respond.

“We have availed resources to be deployed outside of normal operating hours. However, it must be added the turnaround time for outages is determined by the amount of damage detected. Sometimes it can take an hour and sometimes days,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said they strive to attend to every complaint.

“We are not aware of the claim that calls are closed before the problem is fixed.”

 
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