While Mzamomhle Phase two community remains divided over electricity connections, those few who were overjoyed at receiving electricity now sit in gloom – they cannot purchase electricity as they are not registered on the municipality’s system.
BCM spokeswoman Bathandwa Diamond confirmed that the responsibility to ensure registering of new electricity users was a duty performed by the ward councillor.
ANC councillor Boy-Boy Kalani, who took over the ward in November, did not respond to calls.
Diamond said: “The inconvenience caused is seriously regretted. We are confident that residents will have electricity by the end of the month.”
Early in December, the Dispatch was present when BCM Mayor Xola Pakati turned on the lights at one home and promised to electrify 200 houses by Christmas.
On January 2, the Dispatch went to the community and checked. Residents said only 15 homes had been electrified, 185 short of target.
Between January 2 and yesterday, residents said 15 more homes had been electrified.
However, the 30 residents fear that their homes will soon return to darkness.
Each electrified household received five free units of electricity, equivalent to less than R5. As a result, some are back in the dark, while others watch anxiously as the little they have is about to run out.
Mlamli Ngxabalana’s house was electrified on December 31, but he said he’s forgotten what it was even like to have lights in his house.
“That R5 only lasted me a day. I switched on my lights and the television, and charged my phone. I guess I shouldn’t have, because now I’m back in the dark.”
He said since the year began, he relied on paraffin and, when he had money, petrol for his generator.
Lungiswa Ninzi, who received electricity in her home last Friday, said they were grateful, but were now frustrated at not being able to sustain what they’ve wanted to have for so long. She has 1.7 units remaining on her electricity box.
“We’ve tried endlessly to purchase our electricity, but we’re not recognised anywhere. Those five units were just for lights. We still cook and live like our neighbours who have nothing.”
The residents blamed their ward councilor Boy-Boy Kalani, for their daily hassles.
They also took a swipe at the ANC celebrations, saying they wished the party president would come and see how they were living. — firstname.lastname@example.org