Mr Nthuseni Mukwevho's line was cut, and he lost at least R3 600.
Date: 12 November 2017 By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
The electricity supplier, Eskom, acted against residents who made themselves guilty of illegal electricity connections at Tshino village in the Vuwani area. The illegal connections were cut off and the culprits each received a R6 000 fine. It is alleged that the local ward councillor was one of the people who had the electricity connection cut off.
The issue of illegal electricity connections was brought to Limpopo Mirror's attention by concerned residents and the local Sanco structure earlier last month. Sanco even accused Cllr Tshisamphiri Balibali of the Makhado Municipality's Ward 4 of illegally connecting electricity to his house as well as the houses of other residents.
The national spokesperson for Eskom, Mr Khulu Phasiwe, confirmed that the connections were illegal. He said that Eskom would issue a R6 000 fine to all the households who were involved in illegal connections. The meters at the houses with the illegal connections will also be deactivated. “Violators will not be issued with any new meter numbers when their area is legally connected, unless they have paid the R6 000 fine per household,” he said.
The local Sanco branch accused Cllr Balibali of being a bad influence in the ward. “He is always causing confusion and when we speak, he just thinks that we are being against him for no reason,” said the chairperson of the Nditwani Sanco (Tshino section), Mr Ntanganedzeni Mutshinyali. “Eskom arrived here in big bakkies and felled all poles carrying illegal electricity connections. They even smashed the power master boxes. The electricity was connected to Balibali’s house and other houses belonging to individuals who always back him up.”
The Sanco branch members also accused the ward councillor of nepotism, favouritism and the abuse of power when it came to hiring residents for EPWP jobs and internship opportunities in the ward.
Cllr Balibali, however, denied all allegations and said that Mutshinyali had once reported him over an untrue incident of theft. “He said I stole his R200 or R400, which was stowed inside his bag that was placed near the community’s water pump,” he said. “I didn't recruit or hire my wife for any work or internship. If Mutshinyali or other people have got a problem with me, they must write me an invitation letter to a meeting with ward committee members to see that any differences are resolved.”
Balibali neither agreed nor disagreed that he had made any illegal electricity connections. “Mutshinyali must call us for a meeting,” he repeated. “He doesn’t want to attend community meetings even when we invite him. He’s an EFF member who is totally against development in the ward.”
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.
Mr Sydney Mudziwa says he paid R1 300 for electricity which he never got, because he failed to pay the full R3 600.
In the picture are Sanco members who want to see fairness in Ward 4 of the Makhado Municipality. They are (from left to right) Thomas Mudau, Ntanganedzeni Mutshinyali and Obert Tshidumo.
One of the felled illegal electricity poles.
Cllr Tshisamphiri Balibali says that all concerned parties or individuals must write him an invitation letter for a meeting, so that they may resolve what they see as problems affecting the area.