Heavy Police Presence In Soweto As Residents Protest Over Power Cuts

There is a strong police presence in and around Soweto ahead of a march by residents to Eskom offices in Diepkloof.  

The ANC led march follows last Friday’s power cuts in Soweto which lasted for more than 10 hours.

The cuts followed week long violent protests by Orlando West residents demanding that they be allowed to pay a flat rate for electricity and that Eskom’s prepaid meters be removed.  

Soweto residents owe Eskom over R4 billion in unpaid electricity bills.

Eskom has denied that the electricity cuts was a vindicative move against the residents’ protests and their rejection of prepaid meters.  
It says the outage was a result of a technical fault caused by overloading due to illegal connections.  

Joburg Mayor Parks Tau and Eskom acting chairperson Zethembe Khoza met on Monday where they discussed several issues including possible solutions to load shedding, the benefits of prepaid meters and proposed separation of meters for backyard tenants.  

Eskom has indicated it will continue to roll out prepaid meters to ensure fair treatment of customers and recover billions owed to it in unpaid electricity bills.

Eskom Spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe says that the prepaid electricity system can be a positive way to enable the public to control electricity consumption.

Phasiwe says: “Prepaid metering is the only way in which you can avoid situations where people are complaining about their meters not being read or the meters being over estimated. We have been communicating with many communities in and around Soweto and elsewhere in the country. Some of them are demanding a flat rate of between R200 and R400.”

“Actually this installation of prepaid meters, it might be a blessing in disguise. With a prepaid meter you are able to determine well in advance as to how much you want to use or want to spend for electricity so that technically can become your flat rate,” adds Phasiwe