Soweto residents have embarked on a protest over electricity cuts by Eskom. The residents blockaded roads and set fire to tyres on Monday morning, causing traffic delays in the area.
The power utility cut off power in Soweto after the municipalities failed to settle their debts. Eskom says it is owed more than R18-billion by the residents.
Soweto residents’ representative King Sibiya says they need a breakdown of the debt from Eskom.
“This is the question we are asking Eskom – if they say we are owing R18-billion, can they Eskom break it down for us?” he said on Twitter.
“Firstly in Soweto, we have plus-minus six malls which are using electricity more than anything, we also have Baragwanath Hospital which is a national hospital, police stations etc.”
Sibiya says they requested a meeting with Eskom but the power utility told them they need the debts to be paid.
Later Eskom conducted an audit on certain parts of the area.
“What we are being charged are estimations, Eskom doesn’t come to our houses and conduct meter readings,” says Sibiya. “In 1992 we signed an accord that the people of Soweto will pay a flat rate of R33.80.”
Meanwhile, Eskom senior manager of customer services in Gauteng Daphne Mokwena says they are not targetting Soweto in particular, but rather residents that are not paying for electricity.
“We are not privy to the 1992 document they are talking about. We have requested via our legal representatives to see the documents but we are still waiting for it. If I haven’t seen it, it does not exist,” she stated.
Responding to meter reading statement, Mokwena says they have been chased out of Soweto when their technicians go there.
She adds when that happens they use the previous meter reading to estimate the following bill.