In an effort to strengthen their relationship with various community stakeholders, leaders and residents of Khayelitsha, Eskom held a three -hour intensive engagement with these stakeholders at Khayelitsha training centre on Tuesday April 11.
Eskom said the aim was to find ways to ensure a smooth working relationship with their clients and the greater community of Khayelitsha.
Among many issues raised sharply by residents, were the issues of illegal connections, sluggish responses to log in complaints and the failure to electrify informal settlements which had been in existence for years.
Eskom Cape Coastal Cluster general manager, Mbulelo Yedwa, said they were there as Eskom leadership to identify areas of collaboration because they believe that some of the problems they are faced will not be resolved by them alone.
He said they need to ensure that they have strong relationships with communities so that they can tackle all these problems with them.
“We have a serious problem of theft and vandalism.
“Our infrastructure is at times vandalised in day light. We also have another big problem of illegal electricity connection.
“For all these problems, we need the community to work with us. We have therefore opted to have such meetings so that we can find our differences and hopefully iron them out and work towards creating a better society for all,” he said.
Mr Yedwa said they need to find ways to deal decisively with some of these problems which hinders them from providing quality services.
He said it was also worrying that in some areas Eskom workers were unable to render a quality service due to crime and threats.
He, however, applauded the intervention of community leaders and residents who stepped up and stood with Eskom’s workers while they performed their duty.
Responding to an issue of Eskom taking days and weeks to attend to a complaint, he said that should never be tolerated and the turn around time in responding to submitted complaints must be quick and efficient.
Addressing the issue of electrifying informal settlements, he explained that at times Eskom is ready to electrify that community but the City of Cape Town must give a go -ahead and without the City approving that they can’t do anything.
He said some of the areas such as Qandu-Qandu can’t be electrified because the City claims that they are situated in a wetland must be relocated.
Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chairperson, Ndithini Leon Tyhido, said they are pleased that Eskom had called the meeting with various community stakeholders together with its senior management.
He said the meeting was good because it enlightened them about ways to raise their complaints and this is the first engagement between Eskom and the community.
He said this relationship they had established will work in favour of the community especially in instances where criminals threaten Eskom workers.
He said KDF apologies to Eskom for threats to their workers and passes condolences to those who may have died in the course of servicing the people of Khayelitsha.
Community leader, Myolisi Magibesela, said illegal connection was the biggest problem facing almost the entire community of Khayelitsha.
He urged Eskom to find ways to ensure that they speed up connectivity because it was affecting those who are legally connected and it created a hostile environment in the community.
Ward 99 councillor, Lonwabo Mluleki Mqina said sometimes when one has reported the incident and has a scores of references numbers, Eskom workers will still not attend to your query and that needs to be resolved.