Sol Plaatje Municipality accused of ignoring residents’ pleas for electricity

Residents of Witdam informal settlement in Kimberley have accused the Sol Plaatje Municipality of ignoring their pleas for electricity for the past 13 years, literally leaving them in the dark.

The residents say they were part of a group of residents that were on a beneficiary list for a household electrification project, which started last year, but are yet to be connected to the grid.

The residents are calling for the municipality to fulfill its promise to light up their homes. For more than a decade, they’ve had to do with expensive alternative sources of power like gas and paraffin.

Residents say the municipality must carry out its duty.

“We didn’t fight. We just went to the streets once and then they came back to us and then they promised us electricity and what happened? We have been waiting and waiting,” says one resident.

“I want to have electricity because I deserve it. I have been living here for long. Why when these things come then we are pushed away? So I am angry where I am because these guys cannot do this to me,” says another resident.

Sol Plaatje Municipality Spokesperson, Sello Matsie, says the municipality’s limited financial resources have slowed an electrification project in the area.

“Last month, we just turned on 65 house in the Witdam area. We are still busy in that particular area. It is all subject to funding and electrification projects are mainly funded from national and should we get better allocation or an increase. We will attend to all these areas.”

The residents have threatened to protest at the municipality next week should their demand for electricity not be met.