On the 15 February 2019 more than 200 residents of Diepkloof protested against electricity metres that are installed in their houses without their concerns, but divided into groups to cover the entire Diepkloof from zone 1 – 6 including Diepkloof extension plus Orlando. Lerato Portia Mogapi she is a Secretary General of Soweto Action Committee asked that “residents need free electricity because majority of people staying in Soweto are not employed and how are they going to afford electricity”?
“Soweto is said to owe Eskom billions for electricity but no one speaks about how much. The protest went well but had a challenge with JMPD were they just got to the scene found people just standing some singing revolutionary songs and school children passing by they just started shooting without asking”, said Mogapi.
“Later on when I went to police station to ask them why they shot innocent people prior to engaging with their communication liaison officer to find out what is the protest about, therefore they told me that as JMPD were suppose to do so but they assumed that the protest might be violent which for me that’s a lame excuse”, added Mogapi. Mr T Mosi from JMPD “said that he doesn’t care anyway it will be his story against ours since he’s been a metro officer for 14 years”. Mogapi added that this shows how the poor are being killed deliberately and taken for granted.
Over the past year the community of Diepkloof have been fighting Eskom and local councillors against installation of green boxes, having noticed what happened in Orlando where Eskom lied by informing the community that they were just doing a system upgrade but later turned to be installing prepaid meters. Eskom were unfaithful in their engagement with the community, and had already made the decision to impose pre-paid meters, prior to engaging with the community as these prepaid gadgets were forcefully installed by Eskom agents accompanied by armed security guards.
The challenges facing by communities are that the current system does not cater for the poor majority of the people are unemployed which means onl those who are well off can afford electricity while the poor majority cannot afford prepaid electricity, currently imposed on them. There are special cases within our society where some of the people use machines to breath which requires electricity. Illegal connections are largely the result of the imposition of pre-paid meters. People cannot afford expensive electricity which leads to opt for this dangerous route. Many of the protesters are now using paraffin, candles, and coal which increases the risk of fire.