Thursday, 19 August 2021: Eskom has withdrawn its services in parts of Gauteng following a number of violent protest marches in its areas of supply. In this week alone, protestors barricaded roads, burned tyres, threw stones at Eskom employees and prevented them from accessing the power utility’s offices at Diepkloof, Ga-Rankuwa, Mnandi, Robinson and Zola Customer Network Centres (CNCs). These activities impact on Eskom’s ability to restore supply in affected areas.
Members of various communities in these areas and others identified as hot spots, bypass their meters, illegally connect themselves to the network and vandalise the electricity infrastructure, which leads to sporadic power supply interruptions. Such illegal acts overload the electricity equipment, which subsequently catch fire or explode, leaving customers without electricity supply. “Intimidating our employees and contractors, holding them hostage and the overall threat to their lives is deplorable. We will withdraw our employees from such environments until we deem it safe for them to resume with their operations in there. It costs Eskom a substantial amount of resources and money to generate and deliver electricity to ‘illegal consumers’, who indiscriminately use electricity and burden our ability to provide services adequately, to improve our operations and to collect revenue for the services we render. Furthermore, we have a responsibility to safeguard our assets to ensure that they run efficiently and in line with their designed capacity,” says Mashangu Xivambu, the Senior Manager for Maintenance and Operations in Gauteng.
Eskom urges communities to refrain from all illegal electricity-related activities, which result in the network overload and consequently affect the reliability of supply. “We encourage our customers and stakeholders to collaborate with Eskom and community leaders to deal adequately with electricity-related matters in their areas. Electricity remains an essential service and it is important that we all work together in ensuring that it is delivered and that it is paid for by those who consume it”, concluded Xivambu.