Energy and electricity officials from the town of Tshwane were allegedly held hostage in Mamelodi East on Tuesday night and forced to cut power to a neighboring area.
Town spokesman Selby Bokaba said the community was upset at one Ride in Mamelodi 2 substation caused by congestion due to load shedding.
He said that service provision in parts of Mamelodi East would be affected due to the incident.
“Teams were on site who dealt with a service disruption when some community members who were being powered by the Mamelodi Hinterland substation held the town’s grid operators hostage and forced them to shut off power at Nellmapius Ext 22 and 24.
“The petrified officials had no choice but to comply for security reasons. Tshwane Metro Police officers were called to help, but were pushed out by some parts of the community,” he said.
Some residents felt that the neighboring area was to blame for their electricity problems.
Bokaba said a decision had been made to hastily withdraw all teams from the Mamelodi sites for security reasons and to stop the community from forcing them into more illegal operations.
Er said the situation remains tense and traumatized officials are reluctant to attend to service disruptions at Ext 6 and 10, particularly for fear they may be kidnapped or injured.
“This morning a meeting was held between city officials and councillors in the affected areas with the aim of finding an amicable solution that would result in officers returning to work in an environment free from fear, threats or intimidation.
“The City condemns the criminal behavior of certain communities in Every segment of the community, and perpetrators of this despicable behavior should know the consequences of their actions. These officers would simply refuse to serve these communities in the event of a service disruption.”
The developing phenomenon of harassment and robbery of duty officers has been witnessed in Nellmapius, parts of Soshanguve and some sections of Mamelodi , he said.
“Water and electricity service disruptions can occur from time to time due to a number of factors including cable theft, infrastructure vandalism and illegal connection. Daily load shedding from utility Eskom has exacerbated the problem as its fragile power infrastructure is not designed to be cycled on and off frequently.”
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