soweto protests

Soweto protests: Zola residents cry foul over power outage [video]

Published by Andile Sicetsha

Tensions are palpable in Soweto, Gauteng, where protests have broken out, outside the premises of a ward councillor.

Soweto protests: Zola resident demand answers

As reported by eNCA, Tuesday morning kicked off with raucous picketing in Zola, a township part of the larger Soweto district. Scores of angered locals were seen holding up placards and chanting outside the house of a ward councillor who, at this time, has not been identified.

The township, much like other high-density areas, has been hammered by four-hour load reduction outages implemented by Eskom to keep the power grid stable.

For the power utility, this is a fair measure taken to cut out supply from neighbourhoods connected to the grid illegally, for four-hour periods.

Doing this, Eskom says, averts many problems, including the damage of its transformers. The power utility relies on load reduction to avoid the costly repair work involved in reconnecting neighbourhoods overloaded by illegal connections.

Talking to Business Insider, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha, revealed that broken transformers, unfortunately, can’t be fixed.

Instead, a new one must be installed and that is a cost that ranges between R50 000 and R100 000. In 2019 alone, Gauteng accounted for R1 billion in damaged infrastructure expenditure.

What are the protesters demanding?

The issue frustrating Zola residents, is the lack of action taken by the municipal leadership to address the outages in the community.

From what we understand, the neighbourhood’s transformer was damaged due to overloaded illegal connections. Frustrated with nowhere else to turn, the community is disgruntled and looking for answers.

The ward councillor had not made a statement on the protests, at the time this article was published.