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Complying with lockdown regulations is a mission impossible in Jabavu, Soweto

Nie Cele

Believe it or not! While Mzansi’s majority population is urged to stay indoors and comply with lockdown regulations imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa due to the novel convid -19 threat that is ravaging almost every country globally.

 Dozens of homes in Ward 35, White City Jabavu and  Central Western Jabavu in Soweto are without power for the past three months.

It is believed the blackout was triggered by a scorched transformer that is connected to their grid.

Furthermore Power utility, Eskom is steadfastly refusing to fix the fault.

 Affected families are at pains and crying foul after exhausting all avenues to try and get the necessary help from  the local and provincial authorities in vain.

As a result, during this lockdown period their streets resembles a normal business as usual scenario like the ever busy Small Street in the Joburg CBD because no one is prepared to stay indoors in a house that has no power.

To add salt to this, their children are forced to ramble and wander in the streets like headless chickens due to boredom, anomalous and unpleasant situation they find themselves.

To make matters worse, Eskom is exploiting the scenario and saying they can only solve the problem by installing the much maligned pre-paid meters because people are tempering with the electricity boxes.

In the past weeks the Power Utility has dispatched  independent subcontractors to inspect the possibility of installing these meters. But to date not even one hole has been dug to show that there is work in progress.

Livid residents who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity told this reporter they are willing to comply with the lockdown regulations, but find it a mission impossible because they can’t go on with their lives without power supply especially during this dark period.

Thabo Khumalo (not his real name) said. “We can’t even buy adequate foodstuff because our fridges are not working. Sickly people can’t even connect their critical medical equipments for survival. It’s just not a viable situation imposed to us by government and its hopeless power utility.”

Khumalo also raised his concern about their empty pockets which he said are ‘stretched to the limit’ because they are forced to buy takeaways’ which are in short supply,  unwholesome and detriment for most people’s immune system put under litmus test by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Ntombi Zwane (not her real name) told this publication, they collectively with the pensioners and the local councillor taken their problem to Luthuli House, Gauteng Premier’s Office, different Eskom offices and different radio stations in vain.

“Instead when we took our anger to the streets, a hail of rubber bullets was unleashed on us by the hard-hearted Joburg Metro Police officers.

“Regarding authorities, no timelines and guarantees were given to us. Our councillor has failed to timeously liase with the affected residents and to organise food parcels for us even knowing that we have no power supply for the past three months. I believe it’s fair and just to prioritize the affected residents because at this stage they are in need of everything.”

Mlimandlela Ndamase, Joburg Mayor’s Spokesman told this publication they are trying to attend the problem in Soweto and Orange Farm.

“We are aware of these problems . But there is no 100% guarantee or certainty of when the problem will be resolved. These two townships are supplied by Eskom and not our entity City Power therefore the matter is in the hands of Eskom.”

Pinkie Nkuna, Gauteng Community Safety Spokesman, gave a cheeky comment and said, department can’t help the residents with this quagmire.

“People are allowed to go buy gas and Paraffin and go on with their lives and stop making excuses for roaming in the street.”

Pressed further, Nkuna also   argued that this matter does not fall under her department’s competency.

Attempts to solicit comment from the Premier’s Spokesman Vuyo Mhaga before laying the story to bed was fruitless. His phone just rang unanswered.

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