News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday August 23rd 2019

Residents left in the dark as contractor stalls electrification job

Residents in Du Noon’s Ekuphumleni informal settlement who have been desperately waiting for electricity for many years are furious after an Eskom contractor who was in the process of electrifying the area, appeared to have simply abandoned the job.

Residents in Ekuphumleni were hoping to throw out their paraffin and gas stoves, which were often the cause of shack fires in the settlement, and begin to plug in electrical appliances in their homes.

But residents are upset that the work started by contracted company Thusano Electrical in November last year came to a halt a month later, dashing their hopes.

Ekuphumleni community leader Christopher Matomela said the occupants of the 2 158 shacks in the settlement had been “very excited” when the contractor started erecting poles in the area.

But he said their excitement turned to disappointment in December when they realized work had come to a halt.

A public meeting is to be held this week to discuss what actions to take now, he said.

Thusano Electrical field supervisor Emile Kruger confirmed that the job had not been completed but refused to comment further, saying the matter was between him and Eskom.

Eskom Western Cape spokesperson Jolene Henn said Thusano Electrical was contracted by Eskom to electrify the informal settlement with an agreement that the contractor would be paid for work completed as long as it met Eskom’s standards.

“Eskom is aware of some difficulties which have delayed the project. For example, hard rock was discovered underground, which has hindered Thusano’s progress in terms of pole planting. To date the project is not finished, therefore Thusano will only be fully compensated after the project is completed and has met Eskom’s standards,” said Henn.

Henn said that previous invoices filed by Thusano had been paid. She failed to indicate when the job was expected to be completed.  – Peter Luhanga

Tags: Christopher Matomela, Du Noon, Ekuphumleni, Emile Kruger, eskom, Jolene Henn, Thusano Electrical

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