The city of Cape Town on Thursday said that a further 143 other residents in Kanonkop, Knysna, in the Western Cape would be connected so they would receive electricity over the next 12 months in three phases.
The switch-on happened last week and according to the city, 20 homes received electricity as well as public lighting was connected to the electricity grid and further connections are being made on a daily basis.
The city’s mayoral committee member for urban management, Grant Twigg, said: “It was a memorable occasion to share with the residents of Kanonkop. When we celebrated the first switch on, the lights not only lit up homes and the streets but also the faces of our residents. It was priceless. The electrification project ground to an abrupt halt due to the vandalism of the electrification infrastructure that was initially installed. We are pleased to be able to finally deliver on our promise.”
The building of the 161 units began in January 2018. However, according to Twigg, it could not be completed due to the vandalism of critical infrastructure, which poses as a challenge across the city and affects the most vulnerable residents of Cape Town.
“We had to source additional funding for the electrification project to be able to resume. Vandalism not only impacts negatively on residents’ lives but also on the public purse. Money that can be well spent on other projects to improve the lives of residents has to be redirected to constantly fix what is being destroyed. This has to stop,” Twigg said.
The city’s mayoral committee member for energy and climate change, councillor Phindile Maxiti, said: “The rest of the houses will be electrified as soon as possible. We are committed to delivering services to residents but we are increasingly finding that vandalism has a negative impact on the delivery of projects. In addition, this has a ripple effect on the lives of residents who are eagerly waiting to move into the comfort of their homes, with electricity being readily available.”
Twigg and Maxiti urged residents to become active citizens and to be “anti-vandalism ambassadors for the city”.
“We can only make progress possible if we all work together to safeguard our critical infrastructure from such wanton destruction. It is glaringly apparent that those who suffer the most are our residents so it’s time for them to stand with us to fight this scourge,” said Twigg.
– African News Agency