Alex residents claim electricity promise was broken

City Power said they intervened after complaints were received from residents in formalised houses who have been experience outages because of the overloading.

City Power workers remove illegal power lines in River Park and London Road in Alexandra on 21 September 2021. Picture: @CityPowerJhb/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Just a day after President Cyril Ramaphosa described the electricity crisis as the foremost pressing issue facing communities around the country, Alexandra residents are claiming they've been lied to when it comes to the provision of this service.

City Power raided some areas with illegal connections on Tuesday, including the River Park flats and the informal settlements around London Road.

READ: Electricity the most pressing issue for communities around SA

But the situation took a deadly turn when a protestor was shot dead at the Alex Mall. A security guard has since been arrested.

The community of River Park started protesting, hurling rocks and burning tires to prevent the City Power team from doing their work.

City Power said they intervened after complaints were received from residents in formalised houses who had been experience outages because of the overloading.

ALSO READ: Suspect arrested for killing protester at Alex Mall

But the protestors told Eyewitness News on Tuesday that they were promised electricity meters.

"We do want electricity, we don't mind paying for electricity. When they see the media, they say something else, when they want our votes, they will say something else," one protestor said.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said: "We are doing what we're supposed to do, we advise them about the measures they can take to ensure that they get legalised electricity. City Power comes at the tail end of this problem of electrification.”

The power utility said in the past six months alone, they had spent about R2.5 million to replace burnt out mini substations and pole-mounted transformers.

On Monday, the president used his weekly newsletter to acknowledge what voters have told him that municipalities are slow to attend to their problems and that government officials are missing in action.

He said citizens often complained that in the lead up to elections, ward councillors, candidates and officials were energetic, interacting with communities and listening to their concerns.

However, once elections have passed, they either disappear or it becomes difficult to reach them.

He used the electricity crisis as a case in point describing it as the most crucial issue for South African communities.

Meanwhile, a security guard is set to appear in court on a charge of murder while his firearm has been taken for forensics ballistic testing.

“Police are investigating a case of murder and the suspect is in custody. His firearm has been seized,” the police’s Brenda Muridili said.

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