Residents of eNkanini in Makhanda barricaded the east end of Trollope Street with rocks and burning tyres on Thursday 8 April. They did this in frustration following a three-year bid to have power infrastructure put into the informal settlement. But Makana says while there has been progress, the timing and nature of the final installation is in the hands of Eskom.
“How many years have we toyi-toyied for these lights?” exclaimed one resident at an outdoor community meeting at eNkanini.
“They promised us 120 lights in January but nothing happened. Those were just empty promises.”
A team from Eskom visited the area last week, residents confirmed.
“But we don’t know what they came to do because they didn’t speak to any of us,” said a member of the residents’ committee.
Residents do not consider themselves to be represented by a councillor because the area is new, and the committee makes a range of decisions, from who may build there, to how many shops are allowed in the area.
Most recently, the committee has overseen the destruction of several structures that stood along the path of a 16-metre-wide no-man’s-land required for installing a water pipe.
Angry residents left the meeting and marched to the entrance of the electricity depot at the east end of Trollope Street. There they barricaded the road with rocks and burning tyres, demanding to see the Municipal Manager so he could update them on progress in the electrification project.
After around two hours, the residents returned to eNkanini and vowed to continue the protest on Friday.
GMDirect asked Municipal Manager Moppo Mene what the status was of the eNkanini electrification project.
“The budget from Eskom for electrification has been gazetted,” Mene said.
“The surveying has been done; at the moment they are busy with designs.
“As Makana we submitted preliminary documents to Eskom, but they have Made their own design.”
Part of the problem was that there were homes built where infrastructure was planned. “People will have to move from those sites,” Mene said.
Mene said eNkanini residents had been invited to a reportback meeting with Eskom at Makana’s housing department on 14 April.
Comment had not yet been received by Eskom at the time of publishing.