The high electricity tariffs were among the issues brought up by Chiawelo residents at a meeting to discuss the power problems in the area.
LOW income earners and families that depended entirely on social grants in Chiawelo were urged to apply for free basic electricity through Siyasizana, the City’s programme to help indigent households.
MMC Matshidiso Mfikoe: poor residents should get help from the CityMMC Matshidiso Mfikoe: poor residents should get help from the CitySiyasizana, is a social package initiated by the City to help pensioners and those earning less than R3 366 per month. It provides discounts on City services, as well as free basic services. On the package, people get 100 kilowatts of free electricity a month.
Speaking to residents at a community meeting on 7 July at Chiawelo Community Hall in Soweto, called by the City in response to recent electricity protests in the area, the member of the mayoral committee for public safety, Matshidiso Mfikoe, urged people to register for Siyasizana.
To register, they must produce a detailed affidavit declaring their financial status and the number of family members or dependants.
Mfikoe was accompanied other members of the mayoral committee for health, Nonceba Molwele; for infrastructure services and environment, Roslynn Greeff; and for finance, Geoff Makhubo.
She said the first step in addressing the electricity crisis was to ensure that power was restored in affected areas, before dealing with other concerns. “We are going to be looking at the electricity problems of Soweto in general, not only in Chiawelo. We are aware of the concerns raised and we will be working to resolve them quickly.”
The City would continue to work closely with community leaders to identify other electricity-related issues.
City manager Mavela Dlamini assured people that their problems would not be left unattended. “We are going to hold Eskom and everyone involved accountable in resolving this electricity crisis,” he said.
Concerns raised by residents were reducing electricity tariffs; the replacement of green box meters, which they say are too expensive; and that those arrested during the protests earlier this week should be released.
Chiawelo resident Leticia TshabalalaChiawelo resident Leticia Tshabalala: no money to buy electricityResponding to the complaint of high electricity tariffs, Dlamini said: “It is not fair that people should be over-charged.”
Leticia Tshabalala, who lives in Chiawelo Extension 3, said they ran out of electricity despite minimal use.
“Last week, I bought R100 of electricity which only produced 135 kilowatts. On the electricity receipt there was a charge of VAT for R12,29, which I don’t know where it comes from.”
She claimed that a different amount of VAT was charged on a second purchase.
Fuelling Tshabalala’s claims, Michael Mosiua, another resident said a R100 electricity voucher would only last for three days. This problem could be attributed to the green box electricity meters.
Responding to the concerns, Eskom central region’s sales and customer manager, Bandile Jack, said the green box meters were installed as a precautionary measure to protect children from the dangers of electricity.
Eskom would negotiate a solution to ensure that the problems were attended to as soon as possible. In the same breathe, he condemned the stealing of electricity cables as “the major cause of power outages”.
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