Eskom ‘fails’ on Soweto promises
Residents say prepaid boxes forced on them
Soweto residents are up in arms, accusing Eskom of failing to uphold the recommendations made by the parliamentary committee on public enterprises on prepaid electricity boxes.
This came after a community meeting in March, in which the power utility was lambasted for not consulting residents on plans to roll out prepaid electricity meters in the township.
Diepkloof and Orlando residents had lodged a petition, calling on the National Assembly to prevent the power utility from proceeding with the installation of prepaid electricity boxes.
In their interim report on the matter, the portfolio committee recommended that Eskom develop a communication and consultation strategy and should revisit communities to clarify the intent of the prepaid meters, and the advantages and disadvantages of prepaid electricity.
Paul Miya, a community leader in Meadowlands, said even though the meeting did not include their area, they faced similar challenges in which meter boxes were being installed without the communities’ input.
“Our councillor was meant to have held a meeting with us about the installation of these boxes, to explain what we will be getting ourselves into.
“He came here with an Eskom representative, but they did not explain properly,” Miya said.
Residen ts in Kagiso, Mogale City, were also irate after being
‘ ‘ They cut our power and tell us to pick up meter boxes
subjected to outages and apparently being told to collect prepaid boxes at Eskom offices for reconnections to take place.
Tsholo Mathibela said they were being held hostage and accused the utility of coercing residents to mount boxes in their homes.
“Eskom cuts off our electricity and then tell us we need to come and pick up prepaid meter boxes from their offices for them to reconnect our supply.
“We don’t even know how the process works and what sort of impact it is going to have on us,” she said.
The utility’s spokesman Khulu Phasiwa refuted the claims, saying Eskom engages communities and keeps them informed.
“We do this by utilising channels such as community meetings, posters sent to customers, media, councillors’ lekgotla, customer education through door-to-door campaigns, interest groups and senior citizens’ forums,” he said.
Orlando residents say Eskom is not upholding recommendations made by the parliamentary committee on public enterprises.