Johannesburg, the ‘mighty’ commercial capital of South Africa, has been hit by power outages over the last few days in the suburbs of Kibler Park, Wynberg, Randburg from Boskruin through Cresta, Homestead park, and parts of Roodepoort.
As the city is run by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the country’s leading political opposition, Democractic Alliance (DA), has swiftly capitalised on it, accusing the city mayor and authorities of the city’s utility power of being ‘indifferent’ to the suffering of the people.
“Johannesburg has experienced widespread electricity supply outages, residents have had difficulties in reporting these and getting sensible responses from the call centre… The mayor and the managing director of City Power could be considered to be complicit in a form of crass indifference to the consequences of their actions tantamount to economic sabotage,” Denis Hunt, DA councillor and spokesperson for the environment and infrastructure services, said in a statement this week.
But the problem appears to have been caused by the strike – just one of the many industrial actions that have hit Africa’s biggest economy in the past few weeks.
Hunt added: “It appears that sections of the City Power workforce have embarked on wildcat strikes in retaliation to the imposition of new working conditions which has, for many of the workforce, led to a serious drop in take-home pay.”
General elections in South Africa are planned for 2014, and every major social and economic issue appears to be politicised by various rival political forces seeking to put the ‘fading’ ruling party under tremendous political pressure. Analysts are already predicting that the ruling ANC’s support will fall dramatically after these elections.
However, South Africa, like many other African countries, has been experiencing various electricity problems in the past five years or so, due to years of underinvestment, denialism and dubious policies, especially during the Thabo Mbeki administration.
Photo: Johannesburg at night. On the right is the famous Nelson Mandela Bridge