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Electricity issues will be discussed at a high-level meeting in Chiawelo today, where protests have turned violent. Suspects have been arrested.
FOLLOWING the arrest of five suspects in connection with violence and vandalism of property in Chiawelo this week, City officials will meet with residents at the Chiawelo Community Centre today to discuss issues of electricity.

 

Chief Whip of Council Prema NaidooTo address Chiawelo residents: Chief Whip of Council Prema Naidoo (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Council chief Whip Prema Naidoo will lead City representatives to find solutions to the ongoing electricity crisis in the township. Discussions about pre-paid electricity are on the agenda, and Naidoo explained that the meeting would serve as a way to help residents accept that this was the way forward.
 

Executive Mayor Parks Tau has welcomed the detention of these suspects. “This demonstrates that we are taking strong action against individuals responsible for the sabotaging of public property,” he said.

“I am confident that the vandals will be charged and prosecuted and that more arrests will soon be made.”

Members of the mayoral committee for community safety, Matshidiso Mfikoe; and for infrastructure services and environment, Roslynn Greeff, met senior police officials and representatives from Eskom and City Power on Tau’s behalf on 6 July. The meeting about this week’s incidents with national police commissioner, Bheki Cele, and Gauteng commissioner, Mzwandile Petros, took place at the Moroka police station.

“We are satisfied that the SAPS [South African Police Service] understands the gravity of the situation and that they will act decisively against those who damage equipment and engage in mob violence,” Tau said after the meeting.

“There is a very small minority of ringleaders responsible for the damage, [but] their acts of sabotage have left many families in Soweto without power during the coldest week of the year.”

Technicians from Eskom went to work in the area in the early hours of the morning of 6 July to try to restore power to over 600 households that were affected by the vandalism. They are continuing to work on repairs to the damaged substations.

The City and Eskom have apologised to those who have been inconvenienced by these outages. “More than 90 percent of Chiawelo residents are paying for their electricity and we will ensure that they receive the services they are entitled to,” Tau said.

He has asked that the community support the police in resolving the issue by reporting any acts of vandalism, illegal connections and cable theft.

Residents protested this week in Chiawelo against the installation of prepaid electricity meters, with some going on the rampage. Vandals sabotaged electricity substations, set alight a councillor’s house, torched a car and damaged the house belonging to a former councillor, on 5 July.

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