Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea


City Power tears down houses built on top of power cables

City Power has expressed concern about Alexandra where people build and extend their houses on and under the electricity network.

Following demolitions by City Power in Alexandra, after Tsutsumane Ext 7 and 8 was without electricity for several days, the residents say the government has failed to provide proper housing, leaving them to “fend for themselves and even ruining their own infrastructure”.

Yesterday City Power expressed its concern around the situation in Alexandra where people were building and extending their houses on and under the electricity network.

“This has been delaying our technicians to locate faults and do repairs. The outage was due to multiple cable faults which were located under about three informal houses built on top of the cable servitude,” said City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

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Faulty cables

 “On Saturday two of the houses were demolished by the authorities and the community to enable City Power to access the cable fault and ensure the cables are exposed for repairs.”

However, the residents said the extensions were done with the sole intention to get the job done quickly and save money at the same time.

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A resident Martha Magoda said difficult economic conditions meant many residents did not have the spare funds to have their houses inspected by professionals before building.

“Even when you find a family building or extending upstairs it’s probably because the house cannot accommodate all of them anymore and that’s the only extra space you have,” she said.

“We try by all means to make sure that our cables are protected, but not even once did we think we would do something that affects us in the long run. “President Cyril Ramaphosa promised us a million houses when he wanted us to vote for the ANC and until today we are still waiting. Alex is overcrowded, it’s time people here got their long awaited house, or at least let them remove the illegal foreigners occupying our flats.”

Desperate situation

Another resident Paul Ntatane concurred, noting the government had left citizens “in a desperate situation”, as they try to fend for their families.

Mangena said the issue of illegal structures built on top of, and under the electricity infrastructure has been raised before with the community.

“Unfortunately it is not only dangerous and illegal, but delays our work when we have to repair and do maintenance on the electricity infrastructure,” he added.

“City Power appeals for communities to avoid building structures under power lines and on top of cables. The residents should report any illegal buildings to the authorities at the City of Joburg so that action can be taken before it’s too late.

“We will also engage Joburg metro police; buildings control department, housing, and the Saps about this problem of illegal structures encroaching the electricity network.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the residents and, working with the councillors, we will update the residents on progress after the structures have been demolished.”

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Alexandra City of Johannesburg(COJ) City Power