Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe has on Monday said that Eskom was willing to reconnect electricity to the Khayelitsha customer while awaiting the final report from the public protector on the matter.
Last week, it was reported that a Khumalo family in Cape Town was planning to sue Eskom after living without electricity for five months, as the power utility allegedly wrongfully disconnected their electricity in February without any warning.
Eskom had accused the Khumalo family of tampering with their electricity meter, and subsequently imposed a tampering and reconnection fee of R12 000 against them.
Though her report has not been officially released, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has since found the power utility’s conduct in the matter had constituted maladministration and abuse of power.
But in a statement on Monday, Eskom’s Phasiwe grappled with how the provisional public protector’s report had been “leaked to the media”, saying a full and final report would be released in due course.
“It is not clear how this report made its way to the media, but that’s a matter for another day,” Phasiwe said.
Phasiwe said while awaiting the final report from the public protector, Eskom felt it necessary to reconnect the customer as a “gesture of goodwill” in an effort to resolve the matter.
“After consultation with the customer, the reconnection was scheduled to take place last Friday,” Phasiwe said.
“However, upon arrival our technicians were unceremoniously chased away by the homeowner’s son. We will try to reconnect them again this week, but this can’t happen at the expense of our technicians’ safety.”
Phasiwe said the fine of R12 000 imposed on the customer was actually done by National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), and not by Eskom.
“The customer’s son had initially taken the matter to Nersa but the regulator instructed them to pay that fine as a precondition for the reconnection,” Phasiwe said.
“Eskom is willing and ready to reconnect the customer in the interim, whilst awaiting the final report of the Public Protector and its remedial actions.”
The Khumalos have reportedly approached the Human Rights Commission to help take the matter further.
– African News Agency (ANA)