Residents of Thekwane North, outside Mbombela, in Mpumalanga embarked on a protest to demand that electricity be legally connected to the area. The residents claim that they resorted to illegal connections because the City of Mbombela Municipality and Eskom have been failing to provide them with electricity for the past three years.
Angry residents barricaded the main road with burning tyres and other debris. The residents have illegally connected electricity, which is frequently disconnected by Eskom. They say the municipality and Eskom are ignoring them. They say their illegal connections cause explosions, that put their lives in danger.
“We are living with elders, it is very cold and on the other hand, we are faced with the COVID-19. Children are unable to bath and go to school. We urged Eskom to assist us but nothing is happening,” one resident told SABC News.
“We want electricity and that is why we went to the street to protest. We have been here for five years but there are now communities that were established in the past two-three years, they have electricity but we don’t have electricity,” added another.
Mbombela Municipality officials met with the residents of Thekwane North and agreed that the process of installing electricity in the area will be sped up.
“We did make an application to the Department of Mineral and Energy and they responded. In the current budget, we have designs. The other challenge is that currently there is a lot of illegal invasion of land here. We are persuading them not to take illegal activities. Like I indicated this is an Eskom supply area and Eskom was not here. The problem is that each time we invite Eskom to come here they don’t come. It’s their responsibility and it’s their supply area,” says Speaker of the City of Mbombela Municipality, Sipho Siwela.
Siwela also added that some of the households could be electrified next year. In the meantime, the residents are demanding to be allowed to continue with their illegal connections