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Eskom repairs fault only after locals vent their anger

HELDERBERG – Protests erupted in Sir Lowry’s Pass last week when a group of residents from Uitkyk informal settlement vented their anger over a power outage which lasted three days.

The protest peaked last Tuesday night (14 July), when they blocked the entrance at old Sir Lowry’s Pass Road and started a fire that prevented anyone from entering the area.

Electricity in Uitkyk is supplied by Eskom and the outage, apparently caused by the stormy weather, had gone “unacknowledged”, according to community spokesperson Lionel Benjamin.

“We reported the outage immediately, but for three days Eskom did not acknowledge the complaint and nobody was sent out to repair the problem,” he said.

Benjamin added that residents were frustrated because outages around the area are “frequent” and often went without repair for several days.

The protest lasted only until 21:00, the start of the nationwide curfew preventing movement until 04:00, Benjamin related.

The next day (Wednesday 15 July) Eskom technicians were on site and power was restored to the 43 affected homes.

In a statement, Eskom spokesperson Trish da Silva said the electricity supply to the Uitkyk community in Sir Lowry’s Pass was cut-off when two fuses of the 11 kV pole mounted transformer 48A727 blew during the recent storms. This caused severe damage to network infrastructure.

“As a result, Eskom experienced a high number of faults in greater Cape Town and parts of the Western Cape, which left customers in some areas experiencing prolonged periods without electricity,” she explained.

The fault was logged on Tuesday 14 July and operators were dispatched to the site just after 10:00 the following day, Da Silva added.

“Operators arrived on site at 10:30 and the electricity supply was restored at approximately 11:40,” she said.

“Eskom wishes to apologise for any inconvenience that was caused to its customers.”

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