Trucks torched on N4 in Emalahleni as residents rage against power outages

Trucks were set alight in Emalahleni by community members who demanded their electricity be restored. Stock photo.
Trucks were set alight in Emalahleni by community members who demanded their electricity be restored. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Lukas Gojda

Four trucks and two bakkies have been set alight on the outskirts of Vosman in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank), allegedly by community members, Mpumalanga police said on Thursday. 

Scores of other vehicles were pelted with stones as people went on the rampage on Wednesday evening, said Col Donald Mdhluli. Police were on high alert and have heightened their visibility as they monitor the situation.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the incident erupted after reports of lack of electricity in areas like Emsagweni and other places in Vosman. A case of public violence was opened and multiple charges of malicious damage to property were laid after the dreadful incident. No-one has been arrested so far but police, including public order policing members, continue to maintain their presence in the area,” said Mdhluli. 

Meanwhile, provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has called on the public to refrain from acts of violence. Though they have a right to protest, this should happen within the ambit of the law.

Explaining the power crisis, the municipality said a power outage had been reported in the area on Wednesday about 10.30am.

“It was established that there was a cable fault between the Buffer and Ring substations. Further, there were cables stolen at the Ring Sub 5. The areas affected were Sinqobile, Emsagweni and KG Mall,” the municipality said on Wednesday.

“The fault was located in an [almost] inaccessible area but was attended to and the stolen cables replaced. The job was completed around 10pm [but] during that period there was load-shedding. As a result, the system could not be commissioned to test and check that everything was correct for switch-on. 

“The strike made it difficult for our team to complete the testing and switch on the electricity. The team will assess and commission when the roads are cleared and security is guaranteed to our employees.

“We appeal to the community to allow our employees to work on site so we can deliver services. Electricity will be switched on this morning once our team can gain access.”

The municipality, however, said it came across some problems when restoring the electricity on Thursday. 

“Eskom restored electricity at 9.30am as was scheduled and the team inspected the lines for switch-on. During switch-on at Ring Sub 5, there was an explosion on the KwaGuqa Mall breaker. On investigation we established that the mall supply cable was faulty and the main supply cable to transformer No 1 was faulty too.

“The areas that are still out are Emsagweni, Kwa Guqa Ext 17 and Kwa Guqa Mall. The municipal team and a service provider are busy with repairs.

“It should be noted that there will be Eskom load-shedding between 1pm and 3pm. This will result in the affected communities being without electricity for extended period. KwaGuqa Ext 15 and 16 will be affected.”


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