Family left in the dark

For a month the Ngceba family from Lwandle have been living in the dark due to illegal connections by the izinyoka.

This family and other surrounding houses are now asking the municipality to connect their homes to another transformer as they are tired of living in the dark.

Lubabalo Ngceba (61) pleaded for help. “The transformer we are connected on should be given to the izinyoka because they have made it theirs,” said the old man.

“The izinyoka threatens us when we remove their wires. I am too old to fight. Life is difficult without electricity. Our electricity should not come from that transformer.”

The family has had to buy a gas stove and paraffin lights, as their electrical appliances have been damaged.

Nombizodwa Ngceba (54) said they have spent more on food than before.

“We can’t buy in bulk now because food gets rotten and we have to throw it away. I can’t watch my favourite TV shows and the children sometimes bathe in cold water,” she said.

The affected houses are close to Pholile informal settlement which gets electricity from illegal connections. These residents have demanded the installation of electricity in the area.

One of the izinyoka, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Everyone needs electricity including us. We will not wait until they finish with the installations. We do not know how long it will take.”

The electrification of Pholile has been embattled with delays and a new deadline has been set for this month, after the first deadline was not met.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, confirmed that the City received a complaint from the Ngceba family.

“The electricity network that feeds the Ngceba family has been severely affected by illegal connections. These connections were previously removed but were soon reconnected, causing the network to trip due to overloading, unbalancing and faulty illegal connections,” she said

Limberg said illegal connections are not maintainable or repairable and residents receiving illegal supply will not remove these connections out of their own free will.

“Furthermore, City staff are at risk when they try to remove the illegal connections without security escort. It is therefore important that consumers report outages to the Fault Reporting Centre to ensure the duration of outages are minimised,” she advised.

On the plea by the family to be removed from the transformer, she said council is working on a solution.

“The City is also currently doing load studies to determine whether it is technically possible to feed Siyabonga Street from another transformer,” she said.