Protest over removal of illegal electricity connections

“Even if we get electrical boxes for ten houses, that is fine. We will pay,” says Philippi resident

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Photo of a group of people in a backyard
Residents of Jabula in Philippi watched as municipal workers removed illegal electricity connections. Photo: Velani Ludidi

On Tuesday, residents of Jabula in Philippi barricaded Olieboom Road with rubble and burning tyres after the municipality removed the illegal electricity connections the community have been using for over five months. Children joined the protest, singing with the residents.

The small farmland area with 56 shacks has no formal electricity. The illegal connections were to an electric box situated at an old dairy farm that is no longer operating. Municipal workers, accompanied by City law enforcement, cut the cables and loaded some on a truck. The community watched helplessly.

“Since 1959 we have been here,” said Sheila Prinsloo. “We were used to gas and generators before but having electricity was the best.”

“Look around here, everyone knows each other; that is how small the area is. We will fight until we get electricity because it has been many years living in the dark. Even if we get electrical boxes for ten houses, that is fine. We will pay,” said Prinsloo.

Another woman, who did not give a surname said, “A generator uses R80 a day and that is expensive for us.”

“Our children thought electricity was for certain areas and not for us. We have people who have never seen electricity operating before we made the connections. We deserve electricity too,” she said.

Questions sent to the City of Cape Town on Tuesday were not answered at the time of publication.

TOPICS:  Electricity

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