JOHANNESBURG, July 10 – The City of Johannesburg on Tuesday urged poor residents of Slovo Park, Soweto, to register for free electricity.
Speaking at a ceremony to “switch on the lights” at the house of resident, Mary Melane, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said the move was part of their pro-poor agenda to uplift those communities that cannot help themselves.
“As part of the electricity roll-out, we aim to bring dignity to our people and steer them away from connecting to electricity illegally, those connections have started numerous fires and have led to the unnecessary loss of many lives in our informal communities,” said Mashaba.
He said City Power has also completed an awareness campaign aimed at educating the community of Slovo Park on the importance of taking ownership of the electricity network, dangers of illegal connections, saving electricity and the importance of paying for services rendered by the City of Joburg.
“We will also be conducting an Expanded Social Package (ESP) awareness campaign in Slovo Park encouraging residents to register on our indigent list to access electricity and water rebates, as well as other forms of social support. We have made it our mission to put the communities previously forgotten, first,” said Mashaba.
“This forms part of a larger campaign to register our poorest residents onto our ESP programme.”
Elated to benefit from the free electricity, 68-year-old Melane, said she was “happy”. She paid tribute to her late son, Mohau. When he was the chairperson of the Slovo development community forum, along with others, Mohau tirelessly lobbied the City to provide electricity to the poor.
“They have heard his cries,” Melane said.
Mashaba said the ESP targets vulnerable residents in the city such as the unemployed, youth, people with disabilities, displaced persons and senior citizens. People with different levels of need will qualify for different levels of subsidy according to the City’s measure of affordability.
“I made a promise to the people of Slovo Park that our government will bring electricity to their homes. I am proud that today, the City of Johannesburg could deliver on that promise,” said Mashaba.
Slovo Park is mostly made up of shacks and joblessness is very high. (ANA)