Frustration over unresolved street lights issue

Faulty street lights pose a grave risk to residents safety.

Mitchell’s Plain councillors are frustrated that street lights and mast lighting are not working in their communities.

Washiela Harris, councillor for Ward 82 (Tafelsig), said residents’ lives and livelihoods depended on the lights – without them they had to walk to and from bus stops in the dark and it wasn’t safe.

“Their lives are in danger. Here I have to tell them you have to wait – that is not on,” she told the monthly Wolfgat Sub-council meeting on Thursday July 23.

Ms Harris said community worker Dawood Jacobs had complained to mayor Dan Plato, premier Alan Winde and the City of Cape Town’s speaker Dirk Smit – either in person or on talk radio.

“I’m so despondent with the electricity department. Complaints have been sent, and I have been logging everything,” she said.

Sub-council chairman Solomon Philander commiserated with Ms Harris, stating that reports of street lights not working in Eastridge and Beacon Valley had not been attended to for months.

They were addressing their concerns to City electricity services official Ismail Green, who spoke about the number of outstanding calls on councillors’ C3 notification lists.

Mr Philander proposed that councillors submit weekly reports of outstanding services and that an official should attend the next sub-council meeting to explain how the notification system worked and how teams responded.

Mr Green asked for representatives to be taught how to log and monitor complaints to keep residents informed on progress.

He said during the Covid-19 lockdown their staff complement had dropped to 45 percent and that many employees and their families had tested positive for the virus.

Vandalism of City infrastructure had also contributed to the street lights and mast lighting not working, he said.

Sub-council manager Mcebisi Fetu said the sub-council, ward councillors, officials and residents had to find a way to work together and improve service delivery.

Mr Jacobs said it was important for residents to know their rights and that they had the right to proper basic service delivery.

Working street lights deterred robbers and drug dealers, he said.

Mr Jacobs has logged several C3 notifications for broken street lights, overflowing sewers, potholes and poor workmanship.

“I have sent numerous emails, made several calls and whenever I meet them (officials) like the mayor or the premier, then I bring it to their attention,” he said.

Mr Jacobs calls in on radio talk shows when they are on the line and complains.

Goawa Timm, councillor for Ward 76 (Lentegeur and parts of Ikwezi Park), said she also logged several complaints of street lights not working and had not been able to give residents “proper feedback”.