Orlando West's residents weigh in on Eskom-linked protests

It has been reported that Orlando West residents have continued their protest action, which has allegedly turned violent, against the installation of prepaid electricity meters today. CapeTalk and 702 presenter Redi Tlhabi opened the lines for listeners to share their views on the ongoing protest action and received a variety of calls and comments.

Temba from Orlando West says the safety of his home has been threatened

Temba says that he received a call at work (Pretoria) this morning, advising him to come back home. Protestors have allegedly threatened to burn down the homes of those who have not joined the protests in the community.

I am going back home. I have to now turn back because people are threatening to burn down my house because I am not protesting. I am not protesting because I bloody-well pay Eskom! I am one of the people who pay Eskom. When there is load shedding I suffer. Now there is this. The thing that pains me is that these are not strangers. These are people we know; people we live with. These are people who, when we come back from work ask us for R10 here, R5 there, this and that – and the next thing they're threating to burn down our houses. Now I have to leave and try protect my property. What can I do?

Bandile Jack, Eskom manager

Jack says Eskom has tried to engage with the Orlando West residents, but that ,engagement to them, means full agreement to their terms. He says Eskom is dealing with their debt by trying to recover the costs from consumers who are using electricity in the country.

Jack advised that if a household was unable to afford electricity, that there is an application process for the municipality in the area to potentially subsidise the expense.

We have 4 million user on prepaid. The tariffs used in Soweto are nut different of any to any other areas. The pay-user principle is what is occurring in all the areas installed.

Hundreds of protesters blocked Khumalo Street and parts of Vilakazi Street during early morning protest in Orlando West on 6 May 2015. Picture: @SowetoTVChannel.

Thulani feels that there hasn't been enough communication

Thulani, an Orlando West resident who went to Eskom on Monday, says that the community was not adequately notified about when the prepaid meters would come into effect.

According to Thulani, the meters were recharged with R200 worth of electricity when they were activated, but residents were not aware that they would need to buy and load their own electricity thereafter.

He says that Eskom officials claimed to have smsed the residents, but that he did not receive any correspondence.

Daniel in Meadowlands says that prepaid meters are costly

It is not that people do not want to pay; it is that majority of the people are not working and that prepaid is too expensive. What about pensioners like me? I can’t afford this, it is too expensive. Government must see what they can do.

Sam in Thembisa meters need to be uniformly introduced

In Thembisa, we have been using the prepaid cards for years. You can’t have 10 rooms and use heaters and stoves, and expect to pay R200 a month. I’m saying the prepaid electricity is the way to go, otherwise it is not fair.

Listen to the full conversation on The Redi Tlhabi Show:


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