Three years without electricity for Duncan Village residents

A woman washes clothes at a communal tap, close to a blocked drain in Duncan Village. Photo by Chris Gilili

It might be 23 years after the dawn of democracy in South Africa, but there are some communities that still do not have basic services like electricity and sanitation provided by the government. C-Section in Duncan Village in East London, is just one of many cases.

Duncan Village, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa

It might be 23 years after the dawn of democracy in South Africa, but there are some communities that still do not have basic services like electricity and sanitation provided by the government.

C-Section in Duncan Village in East London, is just one of many cases. Residents in this area complain that they have not had electricity for more than three years, the sanitation system is poor and that there is one communal toilet for more than 50 households.

“We have been forgotten in this area. We have not had electricity since 2014 and as a result we are forced to create izinyoka [illegal electricity] from neighbouring power boxes. Our danger [transformer box] was taken by the municipality since it exploded, we never got it back again,” said Thulani Mose a resident of the area.

“Mostly we fear for the children that play on the road and in the dirty water that runs here, day in day out,” added Mose.

Another resident of C-Section, Nokwakha Mekeni pleaded with the City to provide them with electricity.

“We plead with the Buffalo City Municipality to give us a new danger so that we can have proper and legal electricity connections. The izinyoka we make end up affecting other areas, and the whole C-section gets affected and becomes dark,” explained Nokwakha.

Criminals in the area also have all the time to rob people at night because street lights are not working. Adding to the wound, they steal cables and sell them.

There are probably more than fifty shacks that depend on six communal toilets and one tap. Recently the toilets blocked and residents are sometimes forced to relieve themselves in nearby bushes.

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“We held a meeting last week with our councilor, to lay down our grievances. Especially about the electricity, she did mention that the process is slowed down by the municipality and she would love for us to have power also,” said Mlungiseleli Dyani.

“Come election time we are expected to vote, yet we do not receive any attention from the people we put into power.”

“We have no intention of burning property or vandalizing our roads, but circumstances force us to, we feel like we’re forgotten while other people are moving on with their lives,” he said.

This year alone there were more than five electricity-related deaths in C-section; two of those were children.

 The ward councilor responsible for the area, known as ward 2, Ntombizandile Mhlola said they are doing everything in their power to make sure the electricity issue gets resolved as quickly as possible.

“All I can say is we have engaged the municipality about the issue and a solution is on the way. As someone who stays close to C-section, I know their pain and I don’t enjoy the electricity outages. Sometimes things are beyond our power,” she said.

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About Chris Gilili 18 Articles
Chris Gilili, a 23 year old freelance journalist based in East London. Graduated from Walter Sisulu University media studies school in 2015. Had a stint with Independent Media, in sports writing. Passionate about news and the media.