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Death lurking behind worsening power crisis

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Load shedding in South Africa
Load shedding in South Africa

by ANNA NTABANE
MBOMBELA, (Mpumalanga Guardian)
– THE community of Mattaffin is sitting on a ticking time bomb sparked by an electricity outage that has left the area in darkness for two months.

The future of residents whose health is enduring complications and is dependent on consistent electricity supplies is dire, with no end in sight to the power crisis.

Enraged by a looming disaster, local residents gathered at the Mattaffin Community Hall to express their displeasure to authorities.

A resident, Prince Mabutho, expressed fear at the deteriorating health of people living with life-threatening conditions.

“There are diabetic people who have to store their insulin injection in their refrigerators but it is impossible. This has affected the community badly,” Mabutho said.

He pleaded with the Mbombela municipality to restore electricity as the situation was getting dire.

“We are entitled to basic services as all other South African citizens,” Mabutho said.

Thembisile Hlebeya, another resident, also warned of the lack of electricity triggering a health time bomb.

“We have kids who use machines to breathe,” she said.

Meanwhile, the only group of people happy with the current situation is criminals.

Under the cover of darkness, thugs are thriving, further making life unbearable for residents.

“Our people are not safe anymore with criminal activities rife as thugs take advantage of the situation,” Mabutho lamented.

“We plead with the (Mbombela) municipality to restore the electricity because we are entitled to basic services as South African citizens,” he added.

Hlebeya said they were prepared to pay “whatever amount authorities want us to pay.”

“We can’t stay without electricity for this long. We are entitled to basic services,” she said.

The power crisis is blamed on rampant cable theft and electricity bridging by unscrupulous elements within the area. In a recent meeting with community members, Eskom pledged to remove illegal connections.