On 14 March 2022 the community of Kwa-Thema (located in Brakpan on the Eastrand of Johannesburg) initiated a shutdown of the area. To get everyone involved in the shutdown, community members started the protest action at 3am and closed all Kwa-Thema street entrances with big rocks and burning tires to prevent people from coming in or out of the township. It also prevented people from going to schools, work, and stopped businesses from opening.
According to Sizwe Mthembu, a 43-year-old who is one of the community activists in Kwa-Thema, “this strike is about the issue of crime that is continuing to take place and the police is not fulfilling their promise of catching those criminals. [Also} the issue of loadshedding that happens unannounced, and the issue of water shortages.”
These issues have affected the community of Kwa-Thema in different ways, for businesses in the area, and also the living conditions and in safety of the community.
According to one of the youth involved in the shutdown, “loadshedding has increased the number of crimes that take place in the community because criminals are able to move unseen.” It has led to a great loss of electricity cables that have been stolen during the times when loadshedding was taking place.
Eskom’s loadshedding has also affected the community’s small businesses that rely on electricity to operate.
A 28-year-old mother of five who sells ice-cream and ice blocks for a living stated that “the loadshedding has ruined my stock which makes it hard to provide for my family”.
After the long protest, the community leaders had a discussion three days later with Eskom and had an agreement to stop load reduction until further notice. The community of Kwa-Thema got what they wanted through holding the people responsible for the problem and this shows that through organising the working class can do away with poor service delivery.
This article was submitted on 14 March 2022. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.