Joburg residents march over water outages and unreliable electricity

The protesters say they are also fed up with illegal rubbish dumping and potholes in their streets

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Protesters march past an illegal dump in Kensington, complaining about poor services and a lack of bylaw enforcement. Photo: Masego Mafata

About 80 fed-up residents of the east of Johannesburg marched from Rhodes Park to Darras Centre in Kensington on Tuesday morning, demanding better services and the enforcement of bylaws.

The residents came from Bellevue, Bruma, Bertrams, Cyrildene, De Wetshof, Bezuidenhout Valley, Kensington Observatory and Troyville.

They dressed in black and chanted, “We want power! We want water!” and “Fix our roads! No to dumping!”

The marchers said the water supply in their areas had been inconsistent for over a year and there had been frequent electricity outages since December.

A fire broke out at the Observatory substation in December, leaving some households without power for seven days. The substation has been repaired, but residents say there are now frequent outages, one that lasted for five days.

Fleur Honeywill, from Kensington, said City of Johannesburg water and electricity services were blaming residents, when the problem was lack of maintenance of the infrastructure.

“City Power will tell us that we are using too much power and so they have put us on load reduction … but we have repeatedly told City Power about the high number of illegal connections. Yet we are not listened to,” she said.

Included in the protesters’ demands were that the City address power outages, enforce bylaws against unlawful connections and illegal dumping, conduct regular maintenance of infrastructure, stop water leaks, and repair storm water drains and potholes.

The residents’ memorandum was received and signed by Anisa Mazimpaka, a director in the mayor’s office. Mazimpaka said she would pass it on to the mayor.

“We will get back to the community within 14 days and try to address the issues mentioned leading up to that time,” she said.

TOPICS:  Electricity Water

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