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Soweto’s power debt: Eskom refuses to back down

The cash strapped state-owned entity is owed billions of rand by the community.

Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has taken a hard line with Soweto residents, saying it would continue to cut residents for non-payment while others were fined for illegal connections.

The cash strapped state-owned entity is owed billions of rand by the community.

Eyewitness News reported earlier this year how some residents illegally reconnected themselves on the grid with the help of Eskom employees.

WATCH: How Eskom’s illegal electricity syndicates operate

As the new year approaches, Eskom has no intentions of giving Soweto a fresh start when it comes to its electricity debt.

With the sluggish economy, everyone is feeling the pinch and Soweto residents are using this to explain why they can’t pay up.

“Some of us are unemployed and unable to pay for electricity,” said one resident. “The Freedom Charter refers to free basic services for all, which electricity is included,” another resident added.

But Eskom also said it had no money and was struggling to keep the lights on.

The utility’s Daphne Mokwena said: “These meters are being by-passed by the customers and we don’t have the full view or access over our meters.”

It remains to be seen how this battle will be resolved.