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Residents and business suffering due to power outages in Joburg CBD

11 September 2017 - 15:10 By Nomahlubi Jordaan And Kgaugelo Masweneng
A man walks past the Johannesburg skyline during power outage.
A man walks past the Johannesburg skyline during power outage.
Image: The Times/Alon Skuy

Parts of the CBD have been without electricity for more than a week and on Monday residents took to social media to vent their frustrations.

Most of them were complaining that their food was rotten and that they have had to survive on takeaways and ask friends to accommodate them.

Vusi Vilakazi‚ manager of a clothing store on the corner of Bree and Small streets‚ said they have been experiencing an increase in crime since the start of the power outage.

"We are losing business big time. Less and less people come to town because not even ATMs work‚ so basically there is less money.

“We use 30 litres of petrol a day on the generator and it doesn't even last until the next day.

“The business had to hire an extra security guard‚ you see‚ this is because thieves are taking advantage of the lights being out.

“It's hard to see what's what. We are losing business. And we have all these extra business costs‚ but we can't afford to shut down. We still open on weekends. As I talk to you‚ we are arranging for transport to take some of the stock to our other shop in Pretoria‚” said Vilakazi.

MD Ismail‚ a supermarket owner‚ told TimesLIVE that he has suffered a loss of R28‚000 after he had to throw away fish.

"It’s very quiet‚ people don't come in as much. I do sell other foods but the one thing that I depend on‚ fish‚ got rotten and I had to throw it away. There is nothing I can do or say‚ I am losing money‚" said Ismail.

City Power apologised for the “inconvenience” and on Monday morning said power is expected to be restored by Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

City Power spokesperson Sol Masolo said the power outage was caused by an attempted cable theft in underground tunnels.

“In causing the outage the cable thieves burned the cables in the tunnels causing power to trip. The would-be thieves then cut into the cables and stole parts of it while the remaining part of the cables burned and could no longer be used for the purpose of power supply to customers.

“The length of the tunnel in which our teams work is 9km in length and is narrow making it difficult for our technicians to work in.”

He said that since Saturday afternoon‚ they had managed to restore 40% of the power.

“Our teams have continued to work day and night and are on track to re-connect some of the remaining areas between today and tomorrow evening.

“At the present moment we are testing all the newly-installed equipment and cables before any switch-on can take place. The businesses within the city centre have been affected by this power interruption‚” Masolo said.