Slovo Park residents protest after City Power cuts illegal connections

City Power is conducting an operation cutting off illegal connections at Slovo Park informal settlement in Johannesburg.

City Power is conducting an operation cutting off illegal connections at Slovo Park informal settlement in Johannesburg, which has prompted residents of the area to take to the streets.

The residents of the Hursthlil informal settlement are protesting against the cutting of the illegal connections, and have resorted to throwing stones at the City Power’s officials.

This in turn led to the South African Police Service (SAPS) firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Johannesburg’s Metro Police is also present to intervene in case any violet protest ensues.

The utility said the spiderwebs of exposed wires and illegal connections not only pose a danger to the residents, but also inconvenience those residents who do pay for the electricity.

Substation blew up due to illegal connections

This comes after the Crosby mini substation recently blew up due to vandalism and the illegal connections to the Slovo informal settlement.

The residents of Slovo say they have been pleading with the utility for 28 years to install a substation or meter boxes, so they can buy their own electricity.

One of the disgruntled residence told news channel eNCA that he is not happy about the operation because they have children who go school and workers who need the electricity.

“We were trying to comply with City Power to put the box for us so that we can pay, we can afford to buy our own electricity but the problem is they are not installing for us,” said the frustrated resident.

The residents say the utility never comes up with solutions when they conduct these power cuts, leading them to spend more money on paraffin, which is expensive due to the soaring prices of fuel.

A woman who has an infant child said she buys 2 litres of paraffin for R50 every two days, to keep her baby warm during the cold weather.

Residents need solutions

“There by Jerusalema and Princess (other settlements) they have meter boxes but we do not, we can afford to buy electricity for my family to get warm. I am not working, where will I get money to buy R50 paraffin after every two days?,” said the woman.

They also say their councillor never intervenes to assist them, and that he was also not present when the utility was conducting the operation.

The spokesperson of City Power Isaac Mangena was on scene and conceded that the utility is at the tail end of a permanent solution.

“The problem starts with housing. The people erected the shacks here which is a human settlement problem. For them to get electricity they should go to human settlement,” said Mangena.

He also added that the human settlement department should be the ones to give the utility the go ahead to give the residents of Slovo electricity.

He also identified another issue that the residents could be occupying private property, meaning if the utility erects infrastructure they could be taken to court.

“If someone comes and says this is my private land and takes us to court for electrifying people on a land that does not belong to them, so housing will be the ones to know how to go about it,” said Mangena.

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