The Gauteng Electricity Movement said it is not going to pay for electricity and threatened a national shutdown unless its demands are met.
A movement spokesman said they have inherited debts of the Apartheid regime which is why they are “suffering so much”.
“That is why today they want us to pay for electricity. Electricity is a basic right. Everyone, starting from Gauteng, to other provinces – we are not going to pay,” he said.
The group highlighted that this is not a Soweto-only problem but extends to the whole country.
The Gauteng Electricity Movement has published a list of demands which include:
- A flat rate for electricity for all residents of Gauteng
- Scrapping of all prepaid meters
- Reconnection all houses with no electricity
- An end to load-shedding
- Scrapping of all Apartheid debts
- Electrification for all informal settlements
- Publicly owned renewable energy production
The movement accused Eskom of using “bullying tactics” against working-class communities by using load shedding as a “scapegoat against the poor”.
Failed Soweto shutdown
The Gauteng Electricity Movement shrugged off reports that its planned shutdown on Tuesday 25 February failed.
The movement planned to bring various areas in Gauteng, including Soweto, Alexandra, Tembisa, and Ga-Rankuwa, to a standstill.
This did not happen, but the movement’s Trevor Ngwane said this is only the first of many rounds in the fight.
He said they have now assessed the “muscle of the enemy” and are ready to facilitate more protests in future.
He previously said they are not paying for electricity because they “cannot keep up with the high tariffs in the country”.
“The difference between us and the rest of the country is that we are fighting (the issue), we are defending our grannies and defending the vulnerable,” he said.
When pushed as to why Soweto residents don’t pay while the rest of the country does, Ngwane said it’s because the township’s residents have a “fighting spirit”.