By Ofentse Letlape July 1, 2020
Mahikeng: Residents of Mahikeng villages in the North West have criticized Eskom for the power outages that happen in their areas unannounced. Villagers in Ramatlabama, Lorwaneng and Lomanyaneng villages expressed their frustrations about the power cuts that have been happening every evening for weeks now.
They said their electrical appliances got damaged when electricity is restored. Leboy Leshomo from Lorwaneng village said he’s angry that Eskom has never given reasons for power outages in their villages.
“Exactly at 5pm every day there are power cuts that will end around 10pm at night. And when power returns it damages our electrical appliances. Not so long ago I had to fix my television because of the electricity that comes and goes.”
“This week is the 4th week that we are experiencing power cuts and we have never heard any explanation. So we are calling on Eskom and government to tell them that we have had enough of these power cuts,” Leshomo said.
“The problem is they happen without warning in the mornings, then in the evenings, sometimes even twice in one day. I am a student at the North West University studying from home and have to submit online, when the power goes down, so does the cell phone towers we use to access online resources. This has caused me not to submit on time at times; and gets frustrating if you had not known when it will occur. This includes important communication as we lose all connectivity” said Masego Sello in Ramatlabama.
Keamogetse Mokgatla of Lomanyaneng village said power cuts are costing them dearly. “I’m really concerned because the power cuts happen every day and around that time some of us are at work we can’t switch off our electrical appliances. They get damaged and even our food gets rotten in the freezer. Eskom must really make a plan and see how it solves this issue,” Mokgatla said.
But Eskom’s manager in the North West, Ezekiel Baruti, said the power outages are caused by pressure triggered by illegal connections. “The power outages are caused by overloading as a result of customers drawing electricity at the same time, while other customers have connected electricity illegally, others tempered with the meters and others are using ghost electricity. And overloading is also caused by customers who have undeclared backrooms that are not registered with Eskom and are drawing a lot of power,” said Baruti.
Meanwhile, Eskom has urged all community members to report any unsafe and illegal power conditions or connections that they come across by calling 08600 ESKOM (37566). These include exposed electrical wiring, low-hanging cables, and illegal connections, vandalised electrical equipment such as substations and exposed electrical cables due to theft or vandalism.