The Mabrukhwe family from Gugulethu fear that unsafe electrical connections could place them in danger after a construction company failed to install their electricity meter inside their home when their RDP house was built in 2016.
The electricity meter is currently outside the house, attached to a small wooden pole that the family erected.
When Vukani visited the family on Thursday May 24, the electricity box was wrapped with clothes and plastic bags to protect it from heavy rains and wind.
Nothobile Mabrukhwe who was part of Iqhayiya Housing project, said she feared that one day the electricity cables might trip and cause a fire, which could destroy their home.
She said every time they walked inside their home, they needed to be mindful of the electricity wires on the ground.
The 75-year-old said when she moved into the house early in 2016, the housing project leaders had promised the electricity meter would be installed inside her home. This, however, was never done.
While her house was being built, Ms Mabrukhwe lived in a shack on the same property.
“We live in danger here. We have decided to put cloths around the box. When we want to put electricity in it we must again uncover the box.
“I always fear for the lives of my children and grandchildren. I can’t live like this. I have reported this to the municipal offices but nothing has been done,” she said.
“This is has left me frustrated and angry. I was once told by some officials that I need to hire an electrician to do the job of installing the box.
“But I’m a pensioner. How will I afford that? And I have five children who are dependent on me,” she said.
Ntomboxolo Makhoba Somdaka, spokesperson for Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, said the department was not aware of this matter but that it was the responsibility of the City to ensure that houses were supplied with electricity.
Mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said an application for the meter at Mabrukhwe’s home to be moved into the formal house had been submitted to the City’s electricity department in March 2018, and would be completed shortly – if it hadn’t already been completed by the time this story went to print.
“The delay in completing this request is because the City could not work in the area due to threats from a group calling themselves ABEMI who wanted to be appointed as sub-contractors in the area,” she said.