Power restored in Dobsonville as Eskom continues to pounce on offenders

Power restored in Dobsonville as Eskom continues to pounce on offenders.
Power restored in Dobsonville as Eskom continues to pounce on offenders.
Image: 123RF/Choneschones

Electricity has been restored in Dobsonville, Soweto, after clashes between police and residents during which actor Patrick Shai was shot.

Soweto residents in the township's Mercy Park started protesting last Friday after Eskom had switched cut off their electricity supply.

Residents said Eskom workers had accused them of buying bogus electricity, which they disputed. 

“Eskom disconnected approximately 240 customers in the Mercy Park area. This was after customers were violent and chased Eskom employees out [of the neighbourhood] on Thursday preventing them from conducting audits and disconnecting them for non-buying [of prepaid units],”  Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said.

Mothae added: “Supply has since been restored in the area, however, all customers found to have connected illegally, bypassed and tampered with meters will remain without supply until they have paid the fine of R6,052.  Eskom will continue to conduct audits in the area where all customers found with contraventions as explained above will be disconnected and issued with fines.”

The restoration of electricity has brought relief to the residents.

“They reconnected us about 9am yesterday (Tuesday) and have continued with their audit in the area. We are quite relieved as it has been tough living without electricity,” said resident Gcina Hlongwane.

The protest over electricity continued over the weekend and on Monday turned violent.

Residents blocked roads around Dobsonville mall and police were called to the scene. Shai, who had just bought bread and newspapers at a nearby filling station, tried to intervene.

He urged the residents not to block the road with burning tyres. Shai told Sowetan that one of the residents wanted to put a burning tyre on the road, prompting police to go back to their vehicles to fetch guns.

They immediately started firing rubber bullets and Shai was hit 11 times. He was taken to hospital and later released. In their official statement, police said the residents threw objects, forcing  to use rubber bullets to disperse them.

Shai has reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

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