Sowetans call for Eskom to have a clear plan

Soweto residents say they are willing to pay for electricity but Eskom has to get its act together.
Soweto residents say they are willing to pay for electricity but Eskom has to get its act together.
Image: Eskom

"If Eskom were to get its act together and have a clear plan for us, we will be able to pay for the electricity that we are using."

These are some of the views expressed by residents of Braamfischerville, Soweto, which was identified by Eskom as one of the most troublesome areas in Gauteng.

The power utility released a statement on Monday in which it names its most troublesome areas which had a lot of illegal connections, vandalism and intimidation of workers.

The other troublesome areas are and Klipspruit, also in Soweto, Ivory Park, Orange Farm and Winterveld.

Eskom said the level of bypassing of meters was so high that these areas experience sporadic power supply as transformer become overloaded.

*Nompumelelo, one of the residents in Braamfischerville Phase 2, said community members did not see the value of paying for electricity.

"You pay electricity every month but when there is no power, you find that people who do not pay for electricity have power. How do you explain something like that? Whether you pay or not, you still suffer," she said.

Braamfischer Phase 2 has RDP houses which have a lot of tenants in the backyard. Nompumelelo's home has seven apartments for tenants. When Sowetan visited her home yesterday, the area had had no electricity for three weeks.

Residents said they had not called Eskom because it would require a reference number on their bill, which they did not have.

Nompumelelo said she was willing to pay her bill if Eskom provided a product suited to her needs.

"Eskom should provide me a system that can allow each one of my tenants to be billed individually.

"If Eskom forgives us for what we have done over the years and comes up with a system that works, we will definitely pay," she said.

*Khuzwayo said the bypass of meters in her neighbourhood was done by Eskom employees. It was also Eskom employees who sold R300 worth of electricity for just R20, she said. While Khuzwayo and many others have issues with Eskom, other residents in the same township had different views.

*Palesa said her mother had a bypassed meter but she decided that it was wrong, paid a penalty of about R6,000 and was now paying her bills.

Revenue collection has been a huge problem for Eskom in Soweto. Earlier this week, it was reported that in just six months, Soweto residents' debt increased by more than a R1bn to R18bn. Eskom has introduced prepaid meters to parts of Soweto in an effort to curb the rising debt.

*Not their real names

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