South Africa

‘Hard to survive’- Joburg residents left without water & lights for days amid R3.7m bill dispute

kings ransom

They may pay their rent every month, but residents in the Kings Ransom building in Central Johannesburg were left without water and electricity for three days recently after a dispute between its owners and City Power over an R3 million debt.

The outage has left those in the property feeling like their basic human rights have been violated and many have threatened to move out.

“It’s getting harder to survive”

Speaking to The Citizen, a tenant at Kings Ransom said they saw City Power workers cutting power to the building on Monday. When asked, the officials said the building owed the utility money.

“When I spoke to the security guard he said it was nonpayment of electricity bills to City Power. I do not understand why they cannot pay City Power because thousands of people pay their rent” he said.

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He complained about the stink in the air and waste of food that had gone rotten.

“It’s been very bad, my meat and dairy products in the fridge have rotten, and I have to throw things away.

“We have to buy takeaways. It’s even worse on our pockets because we also have to buy water”.

The tenant said they had to buy water for drinking and collected water for the rest of household needs from neighbouring buildings using hose pipes.

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A request for comment from Joburg Water on the cut was unsuccessful at the time of reporting. Any response will be included once received.

Who has the power?

City Power confirmed to The Citizen that the building was disconnected due to an unpaid electricity bill.

“From our records, the property owes City Power R3.7-million,” said City Power media manager Tumi Mashish.

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The building’s owners, Connaught Properties, disputed the remaining debt and have taken legal action against City Power.

“Following the cut off of the electricity supply, it came to our attention that the customer is disputing the outstanding debt and obtained a court order.

“In the light of that court order, we have deployed a team to go and reconnect the power supply,” said Mashishi.

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