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S. Africa: Locals threaten poll boycott due to lack of utility services

South Africa

Residents of a township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday protested against the lack of electricity and other services, with many promising to boycott the upcoming local elections.

The Zandspruit residents barricaded all entrances leading to the informal settlement, saying they are giving Johannesburg’s Mayor, Parks Tau a seven-day ultimatum to provide them with electricity.

They had also planned to march to the local police station to hand over a memorandum.

Their bone of contention is that the government had promised in 1994 to make utility services available to them but to no avail.

In March this year, the country’s power provider, Eskom, made a pledge to start installing electricity in Zandspruit in July, but noted that there are areas that needed to be developed to make it a formalized township.

At the time, the utility’s spokesperson Khuli Phasiwe said there were other checks and balances that needed to be done.

‘There are over 800 households which need to be relocated as you may find out that there are more families staying in one yard, which is already known to the City,’ he said to a local news agency.

South Africa’s power woes under control

Albeit there were issues with supply in the first quarter of 2015 and months preceding that, Eskom has not implemented load shedding for the past nine months.

In a statement released on Tuesday (19 April) the power provider said “its plan is to continue implementing appropriate levels of planned maintenance to ensure long-term plant reliability.”

Eskom’s winter plan is under way: South Africa’s power utility moves to ramp up energy availability for the ex… https://t.co/7CrWd0ibeB

— SA_NEWS (@nnzikhali) April 19, 2016

“A key aspect of this includes having a strict winter and summer maintenance budget that comprises 8.5GW for winter and 11.5GW for summer,” added the statement.

News Agencies

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