Eskom authorities are usually met with stiff resistance when they attempt to cut illegal electricity connections in informal settlements but today residents of Doornbach cut down the web of illegal wires themselves.
There was an air of celebration as residents of the informal settlement removed the web of wires that have been strung across Potsdam Road, the reason being that they had finally received formal electricity provision.
Fifty-two-year-old Doornbach resident Lindiwe Mathole was one of hundreds of residents celebrating the end of illegal connections in the settlement.
Mathole said she had lived there without electricity for 18 years and never received any municipal services because they had settled on privately owned land, which meant the City's hands were tied when it came to service provision.
But since the City bought the 12ha of land for R9m in May last year, the process of providing electricity to residents living in approximately 700 shacks on the land could begin.
Mathole, a mother of six adult children, was crying at being able to flick a switch for power in her home.
Symbolically, residents started cutting the web of illegally connected wires spanning Potsdam Road early yesterday morning, ahead of the 2pm official switch-on.
The web of wires dangled so low over the busy road that they often caught on a passing truck and snapped.
Youths scrambled up the makeshift poles, some of them getting shocked in their haste to gather wire which they would then sell to scrap yards.
Mathole said she would now be able to iron her clothes with an electric iron and would be able to use electrical appliances such as a refrigerator.
However, the residents of neighbouring residents living in formal housing were less celebratory about the provision of legal power as many of them had made money selling illegal electricity to their informally housed Doornbach neighbours.
But their loss is the informal settlement's gain, with the provision of street lighting now also hoped to reduce crime.
Ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni said legal electricity would reduce shack fires as people would no longer have to rely so much on candles and paraffin stoves.
City's Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Shehaam Sims, said the City was pleased that Eskom was now able to provide electricity to Doornbach residents following the purchase of the land.
She said the City would be providing further services to the area since it now owned the land.
"Water and sanitation will be brought closer to people as before we were only able to provide services on the periphery of the area," said Sims.
Eskom Western Cape spokesperson Jolene Henn said Eskom yesterday switched on electricity in 700 shacks in the informal settlement.
The entire informal settlement would be electrified by end of September this year, said Henn.