Residents trip plans for power lines

08 July 2014 - 02:01
By Ernest Mabuza and Phetane Rapetswane

Eskom's efforts to service fast-developing Midrand, north of Johannesburg, suffered a blow recently when it lost a court appeal relating to a power line that crosses private property.

Eleven Midrand residents, including former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi, have been fighting Eskom over its 2011 installation of a power line that passed over streets, citing health and safety concerns.

The line was erected and then removed.

Eskom's failure to erect new lines means residents could be plagued by an unstable power supply.

The power utility wanted to construct a 132kV overhead distribution power line, 8km in length, between its Diepsloot East substation, which supplies power to the Midrand area, and the proposed Blue Hills substation.

But the Supreme Court of Appeal last month dismissed its application for the setting aside of an order that the registrar of deeds cancel the registration of a servitude that allowed the transmission of electricity over the property of a resident.

Lindy Norton successfully applied to the High Court in 2012 for a declaration that the servitude over her property had been cancelled by her.

"This means that we do not have a contingency or backup line in case the existing one fails, and power can only be restored once the existing line is repaired," Eskom's senior manager of asset creation, Pravind Orrie, said.

In Alberton, on the East Rand, residents objected to Eskom's plans to run power lines through the CBD and close to homes, saying they had not been consulted.

A route that had been discussed three years ago was changed when it was determined that the lines would be dangerously close to Rand Airport, in Germiston.

Alberton councillor Bruna Haipel said a public meeting of all stakeholders was being convened.