Mamelodi frustrated residents take to the streets to demand action.
A severe electricity crisis and rampant cable theft have left residents in the township of Mamelodi reeling, prompting a community strike as frustration boils over. The lack of electricity and the detrimental effects of continuous cable theft have compelled community members to unite and demand swift action from the authorities to address these pressing issues on Sunday, August 13. Dineo Mabilo, the Ward 18 community leader, said, “For years, Mamelodi has struggled with electricity shortages, resulting in frequent blackouts and an unreliable power supply.”
However, in recent months, the situation has reached a breaking point, leaving residents in the dark for extended periods. The absence of electricity disrupts daily activities and harms local businesses, Mabilo noted. Adding to the community’s plight, the rampant theft of electrical cables has further contributed to the electricity crisis. Locals report that the stolen cables often take days or weeks to be replaced, exacerbating the challenges they face.
Frustrated by the ongoing hardships and feeling neglected by the authorities, Mamelodi residents decided to take matters into their own hands. On Sunday, hundreds of community members of all ages and backgrounds joined forces and embarked on a peaceful protest, blocking Tsamaya Road with rocks, burning tires, and trash. Protesters voiced their grievances, calling for adequate funding to address the electricity crisis, improved security measures to deter cable theft and stricter penalties for those involved in such criminal activities.
“We can no longer accept living in the dark and being taken advantage of by cable thieves,” said one resident, Lehlogonolo Masubelele. “We deserve reliable electricity and a safe community. This is an ongoing problem. We experience regular load shedding, and then the electricity does not return at the stipulated hour. Residents are fed up. Our electricity bills remain exorbitantly high,” she added.
Local leaders and representatives from various sections have supported the community’s cause. Mamelodi Ward 18 councillor Toffy Masemola has pledged to prioritize the electricity crisis in ongoing discussions with relevant authorities. They have also committed to collaborating with electricity service providers and law enforcement agencies to find sustainable solutions to cable theft. “We are asking the community to be patient as there is a strike by Tshwane Municipal workers; the community leaders are doing their best to ensure they find a solution,” said Masemola.