FIVE-DAY POWER OUTAGE

FORGET US NOT: A long power outage has left Nonthuthuzelo Mqokozo and her neighbours in misery Picture: BHONGO JACOB
FORGET US NOT: A long power outage has left Nonthuthuzelo Mqokozo and her neighbours in misery Picture: BHONGO JACOB
Wheelchair-bound Nonthuthuzelo Mqokozo has not been able to move for days because the electric battery for her chair has run flat due to a power outage affecting parts of Cambridge that is dragging on.

She and thousands of other residents in Cambridge location phase one face a dark winter as they have already spent almost a week without electricity.

Buffalo City Metro (BCM), however, appears totally unaware of the outage. No one had reported it to their customer care line, said city spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya yesterday.

Mqokozo told the Dispatch yesterday: “This is the fifth day we are living without electricity.

“It only came back for two hours yesterday [Monday] but there is not much we can do in such a short period of time.”

It takes seven hours to charge her wheelchair battery, during which time she has to sit and do nothing until it is fully charged.

“The whole of phase one can be without electricity for a long time ... My grandchild has not been to school for three days. We can’t iron their school uniforms and they can’t even have a proper breakfast in the morning.”

Mandisa Bangani said a sewage pump inside her yard stopped operating whenever the power went out in the area.

“It ends up bursting and the sewage spills in my house. The smell from that mess is unbearable and my children get sick.”

The unemployed mother of two said they had reported the matter to the municipality a number of times.

“The leaders in our municipality know about our situation. They just do not care about us.”

She added: “We do not have any hope in this municipality. When it was voting time they promised us heaven and earth.

“The politicians were here during the ANC celebrations earlier this year and they promised to change our lives yet we remain the same. We can’t even eat; we have to wait till the afternoon when the smell is better. Our basic rights are violated.”

Without power, Bangani said, residents had little option but to leave the area to charge their cellphones.

“We travel to Zone 2 to charge our cellphones for R10. I have four cellphones that I take there. When we are in danger we can’t even call for help because our phones are being charged in Zone 2.

“We live in constant fear.”

A teacher from Gcobani Primary school, who did not want to be named for fear of being targeted, said the school had been without electricity for over a year.

“We struggle to teach. We can’t make copies for children, the caretaker has to go and ask at another school or at a shop in Cambridge to make photocopies.”

lNgwenya said: “Our [BCM] customer care has now logged in the inquiry so what we will do is send our team to go and have a look at it.

“We are going to have a team fixing it. We were not aware of the problem because it was not in our customer care system so I am not sure how it was reported but now that it was reported in the system we will track it down and make sure we fix it.”

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