Eskom lifts suspension‚ but parts of Emahlaleni still without power

23 February 2017 - 12:44 By Naledi Shange
RATTLE AND HUM: Eskom didn't help to lighten things this year, and amid the darkness insisted there was no crisis.
RATTLE AND HUM: Eskom didn't help to lighten things this year, and amid the darkness insisted there was no crisis.
Image: MARK WESSELS

While Eskom says it will immediately lift blackouts in Witbank‚ some residents are still without power.

“We haven’t had power since around 5am‚ so we don’t know whether this has to do with our substation‚” a resident of Kwaguqa told Times Media at around 8.30am on Thursday.

Times have been tough for residents of Emalahleni‚ formerly known as Witbank‚ as Eskom decided to take action over the municipality’s mounting debt.

The power utility has been cutting off electricity twice a day for two-hour periods until the municipality settles part of its close to R1-billion debt.

But after mounting complaints‚ the Eskom showed mercy to residents on Wednesday night.

"Eskom feels the pain inflicted on the members of the public and the unintended consequences of the disruption of essential services‚ in particular access to water‚" the company said.

"Eskom has decided to suspend the supply interruptions with immediate effect until March 3 2017.”

But dry taps and power cuts have become the norm for the community of Witbank‚ or Emalahleni‚ the city of coal. Buying bottled water‚ filling up bucketloads of water to store for baths and laundry and stocking up on candles or fuel for lamps has become a way of life. And the situation is nowhere near being resolved.

Municipal spokesperson Theo van Vuuren said many problems were due to old infrastructure‚ as well as more than R2-billion owed by residents and businesses.

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