Thousands of residents of the informal Zandspruit settlement have criticized the City of Johannesburg of being racist in its electricity supply.
In their march yesterday, thousands of the residents handed over a memorandum of their service delivery-related demands to Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau to Honeydew police station.
The residents related their grief over the what they referred to as a racial style of electricity distribution in the community. They said the white residents always have power supply while the part where the blacks live always suffers black-outs.
Speaking to the press on their grief, Abram Molati, 56 who has been living in Zandspruit for 15 years said the electricity situation was worse than five years ago.
He said black people paying for electricity are always cut off from electricity supply. “We’re all paying so this looks more like racism to me,” he added.
More so, Wendy Williams who has lived in Zandspruit for five years said they have been under darckness for three months and government asked them to remain patient.
“We’ve had no electricity for three months and the government said we must wait. There are izinyoka connecting close to the school my child goes to,” she said.
Willams added that no political party was behind the march. Honeydew police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Karen Jacobs said that metro police and the SA Police Service were on stand-by and all shops and businesses in the area had shutdown in case of looting and public violence.
Locals said electricity shortages were so dire that illegal connections are increasing.
Zandspruit residents claimed Tau agreed to accept their memorandum, however, at both the 10am and midday deadlines for the handing over of the memorandum Tau was yet to be seen at the venue.
Jimmy Mosefwa and Khumbu Magudulela, from Tau’s office, came to accept the memorandum but the crowd chanted “we want the mayor” and refused to let them accept it.
Yesterday, Tau attended a ceremony in Randburg where he awarded ANC stalwart Andrew Mlangeni the Freedom of the City of Johannesburg
Mlangeni is in hospital and Tau said he was going there after the event to give him the award.
“That I couldn’t be there [the march] shouldn’t stop an engagement with the city. We did think it would be important to release some of our councillors; we sent the most senior people possible under the circumstances,” Tau said.
Community leader Alpheus Mashila said anything could happen as people are angry and the mayor did not show up.
Meanwhile, Eskom is to borrow the sum of $180m (about R2.57 billion) from the just established New Development Bank (NDB) to build transmission lines to connect 500 MW of renewable energy from Independent Power Producers to the national grid.
If this gets final approval, the country’s global-warming carbon emissions will be reduced by two million tons a year according to NDB spokesperson.