Makhanda shack dwellers protest for electrification

Eskom pole set alight

By Loyiso Dyongman

13 April 2021

Photo of people and shacks

eNkanini informal settlement residents in Mkahanda gather last week to protest over stalled electrification. Photo: Loyiso Dyongman

Late Monday afternoon eNkanini informal settlement residents in Makhanda continued with protest action they had started last week Thursday. They set fire to an Eskom pole and blocked a road with burning barricades in Mayfield.

About 100 protestors were dispersed by police.

Patricia May, one of the protest leaders, said they would not stop until the settlement is electrified. She said the Makana municipality kept making promises. “They come and say the work will start on this [or that] day and that never happens,” said May.

Last week Friday about 50 protesting residents blocked Ncede Street in extension 9 with rocks, burning tyres and rubbish from around 6am, and demanding that municipal manager Moppo Mene address them.

Resident Thando Soxujwa said municipal officials had been promising electrificiation for years.

“They have electricity in their homes and houses but do not think of us,” said Soxujwa.

Eastern Cape Police Spokesperson Khaya Tonjeni said public order police from Gqeberha “will continue to monitor the situation”.

Enkanini was formed in 2017 in Mayfield by former backyarders. In the past year it has mushroomed and now has about 3,000 households.

Mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa referred questions to Mene. Mene has not responded to GroundUp since Friday.

Eskom, whom Mphalwa previously said was responsible for implenting the electirification, has not yet responded to our questions.