Protesters torch ten electricity poles in Kariega

Several communities surrounding Area 11 plunged into darkness since Saturday

By Thamsanqa Mbovane

1 June 2021

Some of the charred wooden electricity poles that were set alight by protesting residents in Kariega are being replaced. The protesters were demanding electrification of their shacks in Area 11. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Nqaba Bhanga is expected to visit the community of Area 11 in Kariega this week to calm ongoing protests over electrification of shacks.

Ten wooden electricity poles on Rocklands Road were burnt by protesting residents at the weekend. The area has been in the dark since then. Last month, five wooden electricity poles were set alight.

The protesters are demanding electricity for 3,000 shacks. They also want to be assigned erf numbers to replace the Area Phase (AP) numbers written on the sides of their shacks.

Police Captain Andre Beegte on Saturday said that a truck that was also torched has been removed from Rocklands Road. He said the “situation is still tense and police are patrolling the road between Kariega and Gqeberha”.

Area 11 community leaders were upset that Bhanga had not attended a meeting on 26 May to discuss the relocation of shack dwellers from the densely populated settlement. The meeting was called after shack dwellers stopped the electrification of temporary houses last week.

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said, “Burning electrical poles defeats the purpose, commitment and plans that the municipality has to improve people’s lives.”