Eskom has decided to switch off the mini substation in Makhaza 37 Section, Khayelitsha in Cape Town, after constant vandalism and illegal connections.
The decision taken in October has left the community battling with power outages.
Despite being affected by the decision, ward councillor Ayanda Tetani understands the need for Eskom’s action. “I cannot give out proof of addresses to residents or verify lists from the database. I cannot do anything that has to do with providing services to community members,” he said.
“But we cannot blame Eskom for this. A transformer was installed a week ago but it didn’t last long — it was vandalised in the second week. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, so I understand where Eskom is coming from,” he added.
He offered advice to residents still awaiting access to electricity, emphasising patience over vandalism. “We must wait our turn, rather than vandalising the existing infrastructure because, by doing so, we are making a lot of people suffer.”
Luyolo Mdana, a 40-year-old resident, called on Eskom to find a solution to illegal connections, especially those affecting paying customers.
“We cannot continue like this; we are suffering because of people who don’t want to wait for their time to get electricity, and our appliances get destroyed because of them. Eskom must find a solution to illegal connections, especially those affecting paying customers.”
He said their electrical appliances get damaged all the time, and they have to replace them. “Some of us are not working and illegal connections have turned our lives upside down. It is stressful,” he said.
Eskom’s coastal cluster general manager Mbulelo Yedwa highlighted the need for a partnership between Eskom and the community to fight theft and vandalism.
“Vandalising Eskom infrastructure leads to prolonged unplanned outages for our communities and paying customers. We need the community to take a stand against electricity-related crimes so that we can bring the perpetrators to justice.”