Recent service delivery protests in the city have resulted in infrastructure damage to the tune of tens of millions of rand.
Many were hurt and services were withdrawn from various areas due to the unrest. Theft and vandalism from January to June cost Eskom R31.3m.
“Damages due to protest action since January is estimated at R5m, which includes damage to six vehicles, theft of tools, damage to a fence at Platinum Substation and the deployment of extra security to various sites since the beginning of the lockdown,” said spokesperson for Eskom in the Western Cape Trish da Silva.
In the past three years, Eskom recorded seven incidents due to industrial/civil unrest where vehicles and property were damaged.
Da Silva said Eskom took the decision to safeguard its employees by withdrawing its operations in parts of Khayelitsha, Bardale (Mfuleni), parts of Kraaifontein and Wesbank where violent protests were reported.
“There is also engagement currently taking place with community leaders for these areas for Eskom to resume its operations safely,” she added.
Meanwhile, the City’s electricity generation and distribution department temporarily suspended services to parts of Mfuleni due to the violence and volatility.
“As well as to protect staff who have already been injured while trying to perform their duties,” said councillor Phindile Maxiti, Mayco member for energy and climate change.
The City’s fire and rescue service was targeted three times in 48 hours last week. One incident in Khayelitsha saw a fire truck surrounded and stoned, while a petrol bomb was hurled at a fire truck in Mfuleni just hours later.
The City had also temporarily withdrawn the Dial-A-Ride service, firefighting, electricity and refuse collection services to parts of Khayelitsha and Mfuleni due to the ongoing violent protests.
“The fire service is there to assist communities. The ongoing attacks on staff could seriously impact on service delivery to our most vulnerable communities, as crews will not be entering flashpoint areas without police escorts, which will slow down response times to fires and other emergencies,” said JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security.
The City’s Dial-A-Ride service was also suspended in Joe Slovo, and Kraaifontein last week. This week, Felicity Purchase, the City’s Mayco member for transport, said services had resumed operations in Khayelitsha and Joe Slovo.
“The Kraaifontein area is, unfortunately, still too volatile at the moment. The City is monitoring the situation and will reinstate the service once it is safe to do so,” she said.
The service transports people with special needs who cannot make use of conventional public transport.
The City said further actions to prevent the invasion of land or illegal occupation of housing projects are being met in some areas such as in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni with violence and destruction of property and the breaking down of community facilities.