Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
18 Dec 2021
3:00 pm

‘List’ of Soweto areas to have power cut does not exist, says Eskom

Citizen Reporter

Some Soweto residents have been without electricity for months.

Residents of Diepkloof Zone 3 in Soweto barricaded the Soweto Highway near the N1, 7 December 2021, with large rocks after power cuts in the area. Picture for illustration: Sibanda

Power utility Eskom has assured Soweto residents that a list alleging that certain parts of the area will have electricity switched off is untrue. 

Eskom said the “misinformation” is misleading residents with “incorrect information”, and that no such list exists. 

It said it was merely conducting system and network audits to “look after its infrastructure”, to prevent widespread damage, prolonged outages, and to protect the lives of people in supply areas across Gauteng, as per “standard Eskom process”. 

ALSO READ: Diepkloof protest update: N1 reopened after residents lash out at Eskom

Electricity debt

Some Soweto residents have been without electricity for months, with new City of Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse telling residents after a meeting with Eskom Gauteng management that not paying for power is theft.

ALSO READ: Not paying for electricity is theft, says new Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse

This related to, among other issues, the Diepkloof electricity situation.

Earlier this month, Diepkloof residents blocked the N1 between the Soweto highway and the Diepkloof interchange, after Ekom cut electricity supply to Zone 3 on 30 November. 

This, they said, was due to “high energy losses as a result of illegal connections, meter bypassing and buying electricity from ghost vendors”, which was costing Eskom billions in lost revenue. 

Prepaid meters

Eskom was asking residents to pay over R6,000 for longstanding electricity debt. 

More than 700 Diepkloof residents have had new prepaid electricity metered boxes installed over six years, with some homes still waiting for theirs to be installed. 

ALSO READ: Diepkloof electricity saga: ‘Eskom lied to us’ – Residents fear for their safety

Those found to be complicit in stealing electricity, theft, vandalism and unpaid bills were disconnected, and have been issued with recognition fines. 

“The utility appeals to the customers that have been issued with fines to pay the fines so that their electricity can also be reconnected.”

This is part of Eskom’s strategy to protect its infrastructure, it explained, along with intensified audits and customer education, especially relating to free basic electricity made available to low income households. 

Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Reitumetse Makwea and Cheryl Kahla