Whilst the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg Parks Tau was delivering his State of the City Address today, Orlando residents- Soweto were still up in arms.
The residents took to the streets to protest against the installation of pre-paid electricity systems in the area.
Armed officers from the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the SA Police Service were on the scene to monitor proceedings and to redirect traffic.
But when officers attempted to remove the objects obstructing the road, enraged residents retaliated and prevented them from doing so. The officers stepped to the side but continued to keep a watchful eye on the rowdy crowd.
The disgruntled residents, mostly women, sang and danced in protest against the electricity system which they claim is too expensive.
One of the women, who did not want to be named, carried a sign which read: “Stop lying to us about our electricity.”
Residents claim they were not consulted prior to the installation of the meters and although the council paid for meter boxes, residents were forced to incur the escalating costs that came with them.
“We want a flat rate system because the cost of electricity goes up and down every month,” she said.
The woman claims that since the meters were installed, residents now have to pay an average of about R1 000, compared to about R300 before that.
She said that most households already have so many other expenses and that heading into the winter months, the increased electricity costs would mean they would be left in the cold.
Local community leader Sekgoati Sekgale said a task team had been established to negotiate with Eskom on the matter.
But despite this, the power utility has failed to resolve the issue.
“For the past month Eskom has not met with us,” he said.
“They have erected these new meters which aren’t user-friendly.”
He demanded that the Eskom officials as well as an MEC visit the area and bring the matter to an end.