RATANDA township, just outside Heidelberg, was burning yesterday after residents set fire to tyres, a community hall, a clinic and the veld in the second day of protests against electrical cut-offs and billing.
As black smoke mingled with white fumes from tear gas canisters, defiant residents also charged at police Nyala vehicles again and again, armed with rocks, glass bottles and petrol bombs.
Community member Mandla Radebe explained: “People’s electricity is being cut off even if they only owe a small amount. And if you owe for water or refuse collection, they also won’t allow you to buy electricity.”
Residents say their power has been cut repeatedly in the last three weeks. The Lesedo municipality wants residents to pay half their outstanding amounts before services are reconnected.
But residents also complained that the rates were simply too high, affecting pensioners especially.
“People are angry,” he said. “We want the mayor to explain to the community why the electricity is so high. But the municipality doesn’t care what’s happening here.”
PRETORIA NEWS Wednesday March 21 2012
Rates are not going to come down. The price of water will increase and increase. Harvest your own rainwater – THAT is free!