Thousands of villagers without electricity for nine days in Free State

Youths block roads in protest over outage

By Yamkela Mopeli

25 May 2021

Photo of the landscape

Villages in Tseseng, Free State, have been without electricity since last Monday. Photo: Yamkela Mopeli

Five wards in Tseseng, Free State, have been without electricity since Monday last week, affecting dozens of villages and thousands of people.

On Monday, youths took to the streets to protest.

Ward 20 Councillor Ramohloki Nari said the villages also completely lost power a year ago. “As we speak, we are in the process of approaching Eskom to take over [from Maluti-A-Pofung municipality] and supply us with power,” he said.

A villager told GroundUp that since 2019 their power supply goes on and off every day. She said that with the total outage last week, people had collected firewood, but there was none left since so many people were in need. They were now buying paraffin.

She said, “We saw contractors busy on the transformer and we assumed they are sorting out our problem. Days later, they were no longer coming … We are still waiting in the dark.”

In protest youths blocked the main route into the Tseseng area and Thababosiu with rocks and stopped cars from passing. They were joined by some learners whose schools were without power.

Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said police had removed the obstructions and dispersed the protesters. No arrests had been made.

In a media statement, Municipal Manager Futhuli Mothamaha said the outage was caused by an overload on the transformers, and a contractor was appointed for repairs.

Mothamaha said the municipality was awaiting procurement of the new transformer. The municipality apologised for the inconvenience.