A Wesbank family was reportedly left heartbroken when their 2-month-old baby died after they failed to take him to hospital on time due to protests over loss of electricity supply in the area.
According to IOL, the family blamed the death of their baby on the three-day power outage.
When Taygon’s father Gurshwinn Karolus woke up to prepare to go to work at 04:30 on Monday, he noticed the baby was not responding.
Gurshwinn and his wife Laverne Anthony tried to call the ambulance but the emergency services were unable to get to the house due to ongoing protests in the area, the report said.
People were burning tyres and throwing stones at cars.
“We then got into a car and drove Taygon to Delft Day Hospital, who then transferred him to Tygerberg Hospital, but by then it was too late,” Laverne was quoted as saying.
Reports indicated on Monday that the protests brought traffic to a standstill, as angry mobs of the community burnt tyres and barricaded roads.
According to News24, at least 10 men aged between 16 and 32, had since been arrested for malicious damage to property and public violence.
In a statement on Tuesday, Eskom said Wesbank was left without electricity yet again due to vandalism of network infrastructure just hours after repairing a vandalised cable to restore electricity in the area.
Eskom infrastructure vandalised again leaving Wesbank customers without supply pic.twitter.com/FgeXq2mhHQ
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) May 25, 2021
“Electricity supply to customers was restored at approximately 23:00 on Monday evening after operators repaired a cable on the Saxdown Overhead 3 that was vandalised and left the Wesbank without electricity.
Stolen and vandalised equipment
“Operators are currently on site doing repairs. Due to the extent of the damage, however, the estimated time for restoration has not yet been established,” the utility said.
General Manager Western and Eastern Cape Cluster, Eskom Distribution Alwie Lester said theft and vandalism were the dominant cause of unplanned outages and interruptions.
“Eskom is not in a position to continually replace stolen and vandalised equipment across the province and in particular in the metro area. We call upon communities to please safeguard this infrastructure and report any incident or individual; who is involved in this theft and vandalism. This debilitates our service provision to communities,” said Lester.
Last year in July, violence erupted in the area after the community was left without electricity for more than a week.
Netwerk24 reported at the time that residents barricaded streets and highways.
The report quoted local ward councillor Ibrahim Sawant as saying that Wesbank was one of the hardest-hit communities with power failures that usually went on for days.