Eskom cuts off Soweto areas for non-payment – Residents fight back

Eskom recently disconnected various areas in Soweto because of non-payment, which include Mapetla, Rockville, White City, Central Western Jabavu, and Dlamini.

These disconnections form part of a drive by Eskom to cut power to households which fail to pay their electricity bills or that have illegal connections.

There is widespread non-payment for electricity in Soweto which has seen the area’s debt to Eskom increase from R3.6 billion in 2014 to its current level of around R18 billion.

Residents are not taking the disconnections lying down, however. There were widespread protests on Monday to fight against the Eskom disconnections.

The Sowetan reported that residents are also fighting against the cuts by reconnecting themselves to the grid.

This follows a failed high court bid by Soweto residents to force Eskom to reconnect their power.

These illegal connections include wiring directly from streetlights and running wires directly from their homes to the distribution boxes.

To ensure their illegal connections stay up, groups of residents are guarding electrical boxes to prevent Eskom employees from disconnecting them again.

We signed a deal to only pay R33.80 – Soweto residents

King Sibiya, a representative for Soweto residents, told Radio 702 that there are no accurate measurements of electricity usage of homes in the area.

He asked Eskom to give a breakdown of the R18 billion debt, arguing that Eskom is charging Soweto residents “estimations” as the company does not conduct meter readings.

He added that Soweto residents signed an accord in 1992 that households will pay a flat rate of R33.80 for power.

Eskom’s senior manager of customer services in Gauteng, Daphne Mokwena said they are not privy to the 1992 document Sibiya is talking about.

“We have requested via our legal representatives to see the documents, but we are still waiting for it. If I haven’t seen it, it does not exist,” she said.

She added that it is not possible for Eskom to take accurate electricity meter readings as their technicians have been chased out of Soweto.

Interview with Soweto residents leader King Sibiya

Interview with Eskom senior manager Daphne Mokwena

Now read: We want to pay a flat rate of R100 per month for electricity – Soweto residents

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Eskom cuts off Soweto areas for non-payment – Residents fight back