Left in the dark

Mitchell’s Plain business owners at the Lentegeur, Westridge and Rocklands shopping centres lost thousands of rands when their electricity was disconnected for almost three days.

The three centres owned by Motseng Property Services, were in darkness from Monday July 11 to Wednesday July 13.

Several business people from the three centres spoke to the Plainsman expressing their anger at the unexpected electricity interruption.

Anwar Tape who has a business at Lentegeur Shopping Centre said he was not able to do business during the blackout.

“It was dark in the centre and the shops, and obviously we cannot work in those conditions.

“We pay our rent, water and electricity on time but all we get are poor services.

“We are all trying to make a living, and two days is a lot for us as business people,” he said.

Mr Tape said the rent and electricity, which were billed together, was R6 000 a month.

“We were furious,” he told the Plainsman. “And it is even more frustrating trying to get hold of Motseng who do not respond. Clearly they do not care about us,” he said.

Dr Leilah Adams, who has a dental surgery at the Lentegeur Shopping Centre, said she had to cancel appointments and turn away patients who had emergencies.

Dr Adams said her work relied on electricity as she used equipment which needed to be powered.

“I do extractions, fillings and cleanings and these services need electricity. It was dark on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and that had a negative effect on the business.

“Most of the people are residents of Lentegeur and find the location of the dentist convenient. We tried getting hold of the owners, but no joy, we were ignored,” said Dr Adams.

Dr Imraan Rahim who has a practise at the Lentegeur Shopping Centre said he is highly dependent on electricity and that the disconnection had had a negative impact on patients and the business.

“People were ill and they had to be turned away. As a doctor I have to examine and treat people who are ill. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it due to the electricity situation.

“I’d say we lost thousands of rands, which no one will pay back,” he said.

Imaam Hassan, another a businessman at Lentegeur Shopping Centre, said he lost about R4 000 when the electricity was disconnected.

“The electricity went down without warning. No-one had the decency to inform us. I have a food business, so the fridge and stove couldn’t work, it went all to waste. This isn’t fair to us as we pay our bills on time,” he said.

A businesswoman from Westridge Shopping Centre, who did not want her name published, said she had to send her staff home and close her shop.

“Worst of all is that the centre is seldom busy, so, those two days were important for us to at least make some money. People don’t want to visit the centre as there aren’t many shops and the centre itself is not being maintained. Recently the roof was replaced after many years, because of leakages which occurred for months,” she said.

The Plainsman contacted Motseng Property Services for comment, but by the time this edition went to print they had not yet responded.

The City of Cape’s electricity department could not be reached for comment before this edition went to print.