South Africa: Powerless Residents Take to the Streets


Tired of constant power outages, residents of several communities across Johannesburg have over the past three weeks taken to the streets in protest. But Eskom's ageing infrastructure is only part of the problem.

Orlando East. Diepsloot. Dobsonville. Braamfischer. Chiawelo. Mzimhlophe. Protea Glen. These are just some of the areas where residents have protested about power outages over the past month.

Residents of Dobsonville have been protesting since last week following weeks-long power cuts. Also in Soweto, Chiawelo residents have blocked roads with burning tyres and stones over the past few weeks. Traffic lights and Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure have been damaged in protests in Orlando and Chiawelo. Similar protests have erupted in Emndeni, Ivory Park and Orange Farm.

In the latest protests, on Wednesday 17 July, residents of Protea Glen blocked traffic on several roads and demanded electricity. Protea Glen, like several protesting communities, is supplied with electricity directly from Eskom, which has taken a decision to not restore power to areas that have repeated failures due to illegal connections, meter tampering and where residents are not paying for electricity.

The decision has pitted the parastatal against Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba, who has threatened to go to the...

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