Municipality won’t take further action in Walmer Township
Illegal connections removed by municipal workers in Walmer Township earlier this week were reconnected by residents in less than 24 hours.
More than 500 illegal connections were removed in Airport Valley on Monday – part of a plan to eradicate about 1 000 of them across Walmer Township.
Residents in the area have said they simply could not go without electricity and blamed the municipality for failing to provide an alternative source of power.
Yesterday, electricity and engineering political head Annette Lovemore said they understood the residents’ frustrations and that no action would be taken against those who had reconnected.
“We expected the reconnections. We understand that the area has no supply of electricity and that all residents, poor and wealthy, in formal and informal areas, have developed a strong expectation of the provision of electricity, ” Lovemore said.
“We have promised that community that, by mid-June, we will have a formal supply of electricity connected to those homes that are currently illegally connected. “When we connect that formal supp l y, we will expect that no illegal connections will be necessary.”
According to residents, the low hanging, illegally connected wires were reconnected at about 4pm on Monday. More wires were added to the dangerous connection along Community Street on Wednesday afternoon. More than 100 shacks in Airport Valley are connected to two points on Community Street with some cables elevated using trees and poles, while others could be seen on the ground across the railway line.
Peter Mthana, 51, said about 120 residents decided to reconnect when it became obvious that no provisions had been made for them.
“The only thing that the municipality told us was that the people from across the road were complaining and nothing was mentioned to us about what we would do in the meantime,” he said.
“As residents, we needed to have our lights back on.
“We were sitting in the dark and our food was rotting away in our fridges.
The reality is that we need electricity.” Another resident, who asked not be named, said they would continue putting up the illegal connections until the promises made to them had been fulfilled.
“The municipality has never told us to remove the illegal connections before, why now?” the 40-year-old woman said.
“We have been waiting for more than 15 years to get electricity. What must we do in the meantime? “We are used to electricity. We need to cook, keep our children and grandchildren warm, and iron their clothes.
“They keep promising us things like building houses and proper electricity, but nothing ever happens,” she said.
The unsafe connections were removed after an overload to the Community Street substation meant it had to be disconnected, leaving residents and businesses without power.
An amount of R3-million has been set aside by the municipality to eradicate illegal electricity connections in Airport Valley.