Alex residents claim govt never gave them the chance to pay for electricity

City Power disconnected illegal electricity connections to flats in River Park and Waya Waya earlier on Wednesday. some residents have said they were never been given the chance to pay because government failed to install meter boxes for their properties.

FILE: Illegal electricity connection. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Alexandra residents have accused government of forgetting them, saying that they built themselves houses and all they need is electricity.

City Power disconnected illegal electricity connections to flats in River Park and Waya Waya earlier on Wednesday affecting 300 families.

City Power said only 4% of residents in the township pay for electricity.

But some residents have said they were never been given the chance to pay because government failed to install meter boxes for their properties.

One woman said they had been let down by their councillor: “They keep giving us the run around saying our councillor is not serious about getting us power. We’ve tried to write petitions but the councillor is failing us. He doesn’t come and see us and he doesn’t even know how many of us live here.”

THEY THINK WE ARE UNEDUCATED

Alexandra residents said they had been fighting for power for over three years and they had now decided to take matters into their own hands.

City Power said they lose about R2 billion yearly due to illegal connections and only 4% of residents in Alexandra pay for electricity.

Usually, when Joburg City Power goes on a rampage to disconnect illegal connections, they remove the meter boxes from the houses in the wrong and it costs R11,000 to replace them.

The people in Alex have illegal connections not from other houses but from the streetlight.

One man said since he moved in area in 2017, they had been trying to get power legally from the City of Joburg.

“We have tried on many occasions to approach the Housing Department to formally hand over these flats to us. They have been giving us and maybe it’s because they think we are uneducated and can’t read.”

City Power’s Isaac Mangena said they were aware of their plight, but he said they only came at the tail end of the process.

The group held a meeting with the City’s representatives who have promised to escalate their concerns.

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