Eskom has ‘named and shamed’ a number of Gauteng suburbs after its offices experienced violent protests in those areas.
In a statement released on Monday (24 June), the power utility said that these suburbs include:
- Braamfischer and Klipsruit (Soweto);
- Ivory Park (Ekhuruleni);
- Orange Farm (Johannesburg);
- Winterveldt (Tshwane).
“The members of various communities in the above-mentioned areas and other identified hotspot areas bypass their meters, illegally connect themselves to the network, and vandalise electricity infrastructure which leads to sporadic power supply interruptions,” Eskom said.
“This is because transformers become overloaded, particularly during the winter period, and subsequently catch fire or explode as their protections have been interfered with and vandalised.”
Eskom said that its employees in these areas have been assaulted, intimidated and even held hostage.
It added that it is not in a position to continuously replace mini substations and pole-mounted transformers in particular areas where the residents are not paying for their electricity.
‘This is not sustainable and not in line with Eskom’s revenue management practice and efforts to improve on its financial and operational objectives.”
“It is unfortunate that extreme measures of withdrawing services in such areas are temporarily implemented to protect our employee’s safety until the area is declared safe for operations.”
People must pay
In his state of the nation address on Thursday (21 June), president Cyril Ramaphosa it was important to ‘confront the culture of non-payment that exists in some communities’.
“It is imperative that all those who use electricity – over and above the free basic electricity provided – should pay for it,” he said.
“Government will support Eskom’s balance sheet, and the minister of finance will provide further details on this in the Budget Speech.”
“To ensure the credibility of the turnaround plan and avoid a similar financial crisis in a few years’ time, Eskom will need to develop a new business model.
“This business model needs to take into account the root causes of its current crisis and the profound international and local changes in the relative costs, and market penetration of energy resources, especially clean technologies.”