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Residents in the dark

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“The replacement of the damaged cables will take time. We are currently working with suppliers and third-party agents to assist in this regard”

CABLE theft at the Midlands sub-station in Roodepan left many Kimberley residents without electricity over the weekend.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said a syndicate stole several cables that connect the transformer to the sub-substation.

“An organised crime syndicate stole several 630mm single-core cables that connect the transformer to the sub-substation. This is affecting the entire Roodepan as well as farming communities. The same syndicate failed to gain entry to the Galeshewe sub-station when they could not break the locks or were disturbed by members of the public,” said Matsie.

He requested the community to be patient while the municipality attends to the matter. “The replacement of the damaged cables will take time. We are currently working with suppliers and third-party agents to assist in this regard.

“We appeal to the community to assist in the arrest of this syndicate. This is the second time that the Roodepan sub-station has been targeted in one week. All our infrastructure in Roodepan and Galeshewe, including the pump stations, have been targeted this past week. A criminal case is being investigated by the police. We regret the inconvenience,” Matsie said.

Meanwhile, a number of other city residents complained that they were also left in the dark the entire weekend.

The owner of a local lodge said that they had suffered huge losses due to electricity outages last week.

“We had no electricity on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the power was only restored on Thursday. However, in the early hours of Friday morning, at about 2.45am, the power was cut again. We called the municipality and were told that there was a problem at the Beaconsfield sub-station. We had to go without any electricity on Saturday,” said the manager of the lodge.

“This problem with the electricity has resulted in us losing many guests. Many of our guests checked out of the lodge and we had to refund them as they did not want to stay in a place that had no electricity. Our bigger contract guests, who made long-term reservations, also indicated that they were going to check out of the lodge. Some of our electrical appliances like our televisions and microwaves are broken due to the electricity going on and off. This problem has resulted in great financial losses for us. The municipality will have to compensate us for some of these losses.”

A resident from Donkerhoek said they had been without electricity since Thursday last week.

“On Thursday we had no electricity but it later came back on. At about 7pm the electricity went off again. It was off the entire night and on Friday morning it was still off. I at first thought that it was load shedding and told my wife that it would be back later in the morning. However, it never came back on. The electricity never came back on the entire day,” said the frustrated resident.

“When we called the municipality and explained that we were without electricity on Thursday night and the entire Friday, we were told that they are working on the cables, however, the workers did not work overtime as they were not getting paid for those hours.”

He added that they had to dispose of food because of the power outage..

“Our freezer and refrigerator were off for two days. It is extremely hot and we are not sure if we can still consume the food in the two appliances. That is lots of money that we now have to throw in the bin and the municipality does not want to be held accountable for the losses we suffered.”

A mother in the area said her challenge had been bathing and making bottles for her twin babies.

“My babies are six months old and feeding them has been a challenge, especially with the load shedding as well. One does not know whether the power is off due to load shedding or if it is the cables. I have to use boiled water to make bottles for my twins but these past few days it was nearly impossible to feed them because of the electricity. We were told that there were problems with the cables. I really hope the problem gets resolved soon,” she said.