South Africa: Eskom Faces Off With Soweto, Blames Illegal Electricity Connections

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Although Eskom admitted that 'only a small part of Soweto' was impacted by electricity disconnections, the power utility said the 'blackouts were caused by illegal connections of electricity to the national grid by some residents'. Soweto residents said Eskom carried out arbitrary and discriminatory electricity disconnections at non-paying and paying households.

Eskom has hit back at Soweto residents who have hauled the power utility to court over alleged arbitrary electricity disconnections at non-paying and paying households, saying some residents have been plunged into darkness for several months due to illegal electricity connections.

As protests over electricity disconnections erupted sporadically in Soweto (Dobsonville) on Monday 11 November, the battle between Eskom and about 250 residents debuted at the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday 12 November.

Represented by activist organisation Lungelo Lethu Human Rights Foundation (LLHRF), Soweto residents flooded courtroom 9F and the outside waiting area to argue before judge Marcus Senyatsi over what they called a "blanket" and "unfair" approach by Eskom in disconnecting electricity. LLHRF represents about 250 residents in Soweto areas including Mapetla, Diepkloof, Moroka and White City.

In the packed and poorly ventilated courtroom were the elderly and frail (one carried a mobile breathing machine) - some...

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