PE residents blockade streets in protest against electricity outages

Ward councillor says she will not risk her life meeting the community

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Photo of burned tyres in road
Residents of Windvogel in Port Elizabeth blocked roads to complain about electricity outages. Photo: Mkhuseli Sizani

Residents of Windvogel, northern Port Elizabeth, have been protesting over electricity outages since Monday.

“Our electricity cut off on Sunday night at about 11:15pm. Since then we never heard from our useless ward councillor and she did not even visit our area to explain to us what is the problem,” said Windvogel community leader Debora Grootboom.

Ward 32 Councillor Sandra Fillis (DA) told GroundUp the outage was caused by a burnt cable in Hahn Street in Salt Lake and another one in Second Avenue in Windvogel. “The municipality said it will bring an excavator today [Wednesday] to dig the cable and fix it,” she said.

The protesters blockaded Stanford and Bethelsdorp roads with burning tyres and rocks, disrupting traffic. On Wednesday morning police dispersed them.

Missionvale and Salt Lake were also affected, but there were no protests.

Witvogel resident Marvin Jacobs said, “We have to make fires outside in order to get water to bath and make coffee … We will protest until our useless councillor gets out of her office and come to address us.”

John Johannes, a spaza shop owner, said, has been using candles to light his shop. “I have lost a lot of chicken because there is no power. No one wants to buy my cool drink. My fridge is stinking.”

Councillor Fillis said, “I will not risk my life and meet with that community that is being instigated. Their protest is politically motivated. The people of Salt Lake and Missionvale did not protest.”

“If the people of Windvogel want to meet me, they should send a delegation. Since the cut-off started I have been informing all the community leaders in the affected areas through our Whatsapp group,” she said.

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TOPICS:  Housing

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