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Pappas accuses ANC of instigating Howick protest

Mpophomeni residents in Howick blocked the R617 as they protested against electricity issues.
Mpophomeni residents in Howick blocked the R617 as they protested against electricity issues.
Image: video screengrab

uMngeni municipality mayor Chris Pappas accused the ANC of deliberately feeding Mpophomeni residents, in Howick, misinformation to instigate them to protest.

Residents blocked the R617 on Thursday.

Residents were encouraged to avoid the road as the crowd spread debris and burning tyres on the main road. 

Pappas said community members are aggrieved after the municipality refused to restore the electricity supply until the affected residents allowed an electricity meter audit. 

The area has been without power for more than five days after a transformer blew up at the weekend, allegedly because of illegal connections.

The transformer has not yet been replaced. 

Pappas said the municipality loses up to R50m a year in electricity theft. 

“This is money that could be used to fix roads and deliver other services. Once affected residents have allowed the municipality to conduct a meter audit the transformer will be replaced and electricity will be restored. 

“It has also come to my attention that a local ANC councillor and executive committee member is deliberately feeding affected residents misinformation to instigate this type of behaviour. All councillors from all political parties unanimously agreed the municipality must implement an electricity loss reduction plan which includes disconnections of illegal users,” said Pappas. 

ANC spokesperson in the Moses Mabhida region and ward councillor Njabulo Mtolo did not respond to calls or messages asking for comment. 

Pappas said as a matter of principle he does not engage residents who block roads illegally. 

The blockade was not a service delivery protest, it was a protest against the municipality for doing its job to reduce illegal connections. 

Police were called to the scene with other law enforcement officers.

Due to the protest, the municipality said refuse collection will not be done on Thursday in the Howick CBD and Mpophomeni. 

TimesLIVE


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