Rustervaal residents demand Eskom switch the lights back on

Residents have accused the cash-stripped power utility of switching their lights off without giving any reason or notice.

Police monitoring protests in Rustervaal in Vereeniging on 12 April 2019. Picture: Robinson Nqola/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Protesting residents of Rustervaal in Vereeniging have called on Eskom to stop punishing the whole community because a few people have failed to pay their electricity bills.

Angry residents took to the streets on Friday barricading main reef road with bricks and tyres.

They are demanding that Eskom switch their lights back on.

Residents have accused the cash-strapped power utility of switching their lights off without giving any reason or notice.

They say most of them are paying for their bills and do not understand why the entire community has to suffer.

Community member Ndabeni Nkosi says, “We’re being punished and that’s why I’m saying that in any institution when you owe them, you make an arrangement.

“They then said to us that the people that are on this prepaid system that we’re on if they’re owing and they switched off their lights, demanding R6,500, we’re not negotiating.”

Residents say they have been without electricity for a week.

They say they will shut down the area if Eskom does not switch the power back on.

Meanwhile, the residents say they hope that the visit by Gauteng’s Human Settlements MEC will put to rest the fight over land in the area.

MEC Uhuru Moiloa will be visiting the area on Saturday with the hope of ending the protests.

Residents want shack dwellers in their area who they accuse of stealing their land to be evicted.

Police fired rubber bullets yesterday to disperse protesters who were blocking the R82 with burning tyres and rocks

Residents of Rustervaal in Vereeniging have sworn that they will continue protesting until the land that they claim was stolen from them is returned.

They have accused a group of suspected illegal land occupants of taking the land that was set aside for them.

Community leader Godfrey Lawrence says, “And some of our elderly people are now staying even in shacks themselves as well. So, how do then go and give out land while the elderly people are still suffering? So, that’s why we’re saying let the process unfold.”

Moiloa is expected to try and resolve the conflict between the two communities over land.

He will be joined by officials from the Emfuleni Municipality.