It was a nostalgic moment for residents of Kanonkop whose homes were recently connected to electricity. The streetlights in their neighbourhood were also switched on after the project was halted due to vandalism of the electrification infrastructure.
The much anticipated switch-on, which happened last week, drew residents out from their homes onto the streets for the big moment. Since the start of the electrification last week 20 homes as well as the public lighting were connected to the electricity grid. Further connections to homes are being made on a daily basis.
The connection of a further 143 houses will be rolled-out over the next 12 months in three phases.
‘It was a memorable occasion to share with the residents of Kanonkop. When we celebrated the first switch on, the lights not only lit up homes and the streets but also the faces of our residents. It was priceless. The electrification project ground to an abrupt halt due to the vandalism of the electrification infrastructure that was initially installed. We are pleased to be able to finally deliver on our promise,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.
The building of the 161 units commenced in January 2018, and 14 months on it should have been completed. Sadly, vandalism of critical infrastructure is a challenge across the city and it more often than not affects the most vulnerable residents of Cape Town.
‘We had to source additional funding for the electrification project to be able to resume. Vandalism not only impacts negatively on residents’ lives, but also on the public purse. Money that can be well spent on other projects to improve the lives of residents has to be redirected to constantly fix what is being destroyed. This has to stop,’ said Alderman Twigg.
‘The rest of the houses will be electrified as soon as possible. We are committed to delivering services to residents but we are increasingly finding that vandalism has a negative impact on the delivery of projects. In addition, this has a ripple effect on the lives of residents who are eagerly waiting to move into the comfort of their homes, with electricity being readily available,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti.
The scourge of vandalism is weighing heavily on the lives of residents and the only way to stamp this out is for the residents to work with the City to bring the criminals to book.
Alderman Twigg and Councillor Maxiti urge residents to start becoming active citizens or the City will never win the war against vandalism. They are calling on residents to be the anti-vandalism ambassadors for the City in their neighbourhoods and to report the perpetrators. In most cases, the perpetrators are known as they are from the very same neighbourhoods.
Residents can report these incidents anonymously to their closest South African Police station, or to the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089 or the City’s 107 emergency number from a landline, or on 021 480 7700.
‘We can only make progress possible if we all work together to safeguard our critical infrastructure from such wanton destruction. It is glaringly apparent that those who suffer the most are our residents so it’s time for them to stand with us to fight this scourge,’ said Alderman Twigg.