South Africa: Police Helplines, ATMs and Public Services Take Strain During Load Shedding

10 December 2019

Rolling blackouts in South Africa have affected some public services over the last few days, including the police's emergency phone line in Port Elizabeth, and some ATMs.

In Port Elizabeth, the 10111 lines were down on Tuesday morning and residents have been advised to contact their local police stations if they need assistance.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the fault was due to the server being damaged during load shedding, but the lines were back up and running on Tuesday.

Some people were also having grief with ATMs, either having their cards swallowed or simply not being able to draw cash because the machine was off.

One News24 user, who asked to remain anonymous, was dismayed to find the only Standard Bank ATM in his village had an "out of service" sign on it.

The user, who lives in Hilton, said the next nearest ones were in Howick and Pietermaritzburg.

"I do not want to use other banks because of costs. I'm on a reduced pension," he said.

Someone else shared they had gone to a public hospital in Johannesburg to get their MRI results and saw how cancer patients were being turned away.

"The staff is exhausted and trying their best. One doctor was comforting a crying lady and said: 'I am sorry, I can't make electricity'," she said.

"I watched a desperate mother cradling her child, sitting alone in the MRI waiting area, hoping that the power comes on. Friday is kid's day for MRIs. It takes five months to get a new appointment."

A woman in the Western Cape shared a similar experience on Tuesday: "I am busy with radiation treatment. Treatment has been cancelled today which means that my entire treatment plan is delayed."

Hoping to sort out his daughter's ID application, Thoko Ntoleng had been at the Home Affairs office in Bethlehem since 07:00.

"The power was on at around 08:19. When we were supposed to be helped, they were offline. When their computers started working, the first ID applications had to wait because there was a problem with the system. Still waiting," he said.

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Source: News24

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