The DA has slammed City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality for the power mess in Soweto which has led to violent protests.
The City of Joburg accused power utility Eskom of cutting electricity supply to millions of Soweto residents on Friday evening – calling the decision ‘insensitive’ and ‘inhumane’.
Soweto residents owe Eskom approximately R8 billion in unpaid bills, with as few as 16% paying for electricity on a regular basis.
And while the power utility has gone into the township to install prepaid meters, it faced rioting and outcry from Orlando West residents last week, who refuse to pay for power.
Eskom said that the power outages in Soweto over the weekend were as a result of load shedding and subsequently overloading that caused a transformer to trip.
“When you have in some houses four or five backrooms using stoves at the same time, there is absolutely no way that the power will hold. We can’t control unplanned outages resulting from overloading,” an Eskom spokesperson told the Star.
“The failures of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality are now coming to the fore,” said Tsepo Mhlongo, DA constituency head : Soweto East
“They promised the people of Soweto free electricity, now they fail to deliver on their promise.
“The ANC-led City of Johannesburg Municipality must take responsibility, face the people of Soweto and admit that they have failed them,” Mhlongo said.
“Had the City been honest with the people of Soweto and not promise them free electricity, these violent protests wouldn’t have happened.”
The DA said that people should pay for services, “with special exemption granted to the indigent”.
It called for proper consultation with to-be-affected parties before implementation of new services like prepaid meters.
“Government must consult with an aim to get buy-in not implement without proper consultation,” Mhlongo said.