JOHANNESBURG, August 23 – Angry Soweto residents barricaded and blocked some roads in Protea Glen on Thursday protesting against recent power cuts to defaulting customers by Eskom.
The R559 Main Road (Randfontein road) was closed with concrete barricades, huge rocks and burning tyres from 4am as residents took to the streets to vent their anger. A text message had circulated on Wednesday evening urging residents from Protea Glen Extension 16 to 35 to gather early in the morning against Eskom power cuts.
In a telephonic interview, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said that Soweto customers would continue experiencing power cuts if they do not settle their accounts, adding that they needed to negotiate with the power supplier individually.
“Some residents of Protea Glen Ext. 29 in Soweto have blockaded roads in that area this morning in protest against Eskom’s recent power cuts to defaulting customers. They also reject the installation of prepaid meters. Soweto alone owes Eskom over R12 billion. The process of cutting power is not something new. We have individual contracts with individual customers in Soweto,” Phasiwe said.
“We have over 17,000 customers who currently do not have power in Soweto. Unfortunately, unlike municipalities, Eskom cannot have a situation where we have a mass meeting with Soweto residents to negotiate terms. Just like DStv customers, one cannot rally support from the community for support when DStv cuts off your connection when you don’t pay.” (ANA)