No joy in new home

Siyabulela Mbiyo's house in Y section, Site B, which has not been electrified since it was built almost a year ago.

The excitement of moving into a new house quickly turned sour for Siyabulela Mbiyo, of Site B, who is now fighting to have his house electrified.

He moved into the house almost a year ago as part of the Khululeka People’s Housing Project (PHP).

Despite having a decent house, Mr Mbiyo has been forced to rent a house in Philippi while waiting for electricity to be supplied to his new home.

He said he approached Eskom soon after getting the house, but he was told he needed to bring a Certificate of Clearance (COC) from the contractors which confirmed that the electricity cables had been installed by qualified electricians.

Mr Mbiyo said he immediately approached the PHP committee for the COC certificate, but the committee was unable to do so, because they were also waiting for the contractor to hand them the certificate.

Furthermore, said Mr Mbiyo, he was puzzled when the committee told him that they could only connect electricity to his house after they had built 1 000 houses.

The 52-year-old said he had visited the offices of the provincial Department of Human Settlements on numerous occasions for help, but in vain. He said some owners had hired electricians to get connected, despite a warning from the contractor against such actions. He said owners who used private electricians lost their five-year guarantee against any defects.

“I could not live in the dark, hence I decided to leave this house. Do I have to resort to burning tyres in the street order to get these people’s attention? I want them to connect electricity to my house only because electricity is a basic need,” he said.

Chairperson of the project, Samuel Mdliva vehemently refuted the claims that residents could only connect electricity to their homes once 1 000 houses were completed. He told Vukani they were aware of Mr Mbiyo’s issue, and they were also waiting for the contractor to provide them with the COC.

He said the last time he spoke to the contractors, they had promised to hand them the certificate this week or next week.

“We have called Mr Mbiyo to come to our meetings, but he does not come. We understand his problem and we are also working tirelessly to ensure that does not occur again,” he said.Eskom provincial spokesperson, Jolene Henn, said Eskom could only electrify the house once they received a compliance certificate.

“This is a legal requirement and should be provided by the relevant housing project,” she said.

Furthermore, she said, this area was an informal area electrified by Eskom so it was not a new customer. Eskom would therefore also require an application to be made for a meter relocation to the new house. “We have explained this process to the customer and that the delay is not caused by Eskom. We trust this matter will soon be resolved and that we can electrify the houses,” she said.

Vukani also asked the Department of Human Settlements for their input, but by the time this edition went to print, they had not yet responded.