This year, dozens of shack dwellers in Khayelitsha who were incorrectly classed as backyarders will finally get power.
The households claim they have been waiting for electricity since a project in Zone 14, Khayelitsha, was approved in 2017. They currently obtain electricity from surrounding residences, and the region is crisscrossed by electrical cables of all colors and sizes.
The electricity project was halted on 21 January, according to Eskom, “after the area was mistakenly labeled as backyard residents.” However, officials from Eskom and the City of Cape Town visited the site to assess the situation and agreed to proceed with the project, according to Eskom.
“Eskom will electrify the remaining households in its next financial year beginning 1 April 2022.”
Asked how the families could have been classified as backyard dwellers, the City said: “Due to additional structures being located under High Voltage infrastructure and some in a wetland area, the project was delayed.”
Former community leader Thozamile Dyakalashe said electricity boxes were supposed to be installed in the shacks in June 2018. “Eskom officials brought electrical poles and stored them outside our community hall, but they are no longer there now,” he said.
Nompendulo Badi, who settled in Zone 14 in 2006, lives in a shack with her three children and two grandchildren. Her family take turns to boil water on one paraffin stove before they go to work and school in the mornings, said Badi.
“Our kids have to go to the formal houses to watch TV. When we store our meat in the fridges of the house owners, they eat it.”
Community leader Nonzukiso Badi, who operates a hair salon, said she gets electricity from a nearby house for about R400 a month. She uses a candle to light her shack when the house owner disconnects her electrical wires, she said.
Community leader Asanda Mfene said: “The house owner from whom I get electricity sometimes asks me to give him food. If I refuse to do so, he disconnects my electrical wires.”
“My kids can’t read their books and do their homework properly by candle light. ”