PICS: Mamelodi residents clash with cops in electricity protest

A member of the community refuses arrest Photo – Ron Sibiya

Tsakane residents said electricity needed to be restored because there was a lot of cable theft in the area.

Mamelodi residents took their frustrations to the streets as prevented motorists from entering Mamelodi on Wednesday.

The residents who had been without electricity for weeks clashed with the authorities in the protest.

They burned tyres and barricaded the main roads and blocked all the entrances to Mamelodi with rocks.

Angry residents from Tsakane, Bufferzone and White City marched to Tshwane metro Waltloo electricity depot and vandalised the property.

“We want electricity to be restored with immediate effect,” said Sylvester Mbatha, one of the residents.

“We have been without any electricity for weeks now and no one is telling us when it is going to be restored.”

They said the electricity was costing them “a lot” and they were tired of spending weeks without electricity in the cold wintertime.

Other residents said they were forced to buy takeaway food, which is very expensive, and complained they had to throw away their recently bought groceries.

Mbatha said the most affected areas are in Mamelodi East. Tsakane residents said electricity needed to be restored because there were a lot of cable theft in the area.

Eric Lebese, a resident from Tsakane in Mamelodi East, said criminals were helping themselves with overhead cables since there is no power in the area.

Lebese added that by the time the Tshwane metro fix the electricity problem, the cables will all be gone.

Councillor Jack Mukhari said almost each and every resident in Mamelodi has reported the electricity problem to the city.

“We understand that the metro has a lot on its plate, but please send or arrange for subcontractors to come and fix the lights.

“We have so many challenges within our different communities and the Covid-19 pandemic makes the situation even worse,” said Mukhari.

“We desperately need electricity for cooking, hot water to bathe in the morning and to prepare children going to school and people living with chronic diseases.”

The residents vowed to continue fighting for what they believe is rightfully theirs.

Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the metro was aware of the demonstrations in Mamelodi East.

“Following the court interdict obtained against the labour unions and disruption of municipal services, the metro is making an effort to see to it that power supply is restored for residents to go on with day-to-day necessities,” said Mashigo.

He said Tshwane metro artisans reporting for duty had to contend with threats and intimidation from other strikers.

“The metropolitan municipality commits itself to addressing the backlog of outages in spite of the challenges related to the unrest.”

Tshwane metro police spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said the situation was under control and police are closely monitoring the situation.

This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.

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