Send professionals to check our meter – Mams family

Flery Silawula’s old meter box. Photos Stephen Selaluke.

A Mamelodi family is hopping mad after its electricity was cut off for “tampering”.

Flery Silawula of Mamelodi Extension 12 standing next to the meter box she is accused of tampering with.

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The family claims two Tshwane metro officials came to the house in November to check the prepaid electricity meter box.

“They told us it had been tampered with and disconnected it,” said Flery Silawula.

“I have never tampered with the box – every month I buy between R600 and R700 of electricity. Sometimes this lasts a bit longer than a month.”

Silawula said when the officials came, she had a substantial credit.

“I was concerned when the official came straight for my house and then left without going to any other. It just looked suspicious.”

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She said now her meter was blocked and she could not top up her units.

“I don’t understand why the metro would send people who clearly don’t know how to do their job,” said Silawula.

“They are the ones who tampered with the box and now want to blame me for it.

“They were rude and took photos of the box.”

The mother of four and grandmother of two, who all lived with her, said she had been slapped with a bill of R24 488 – for penalties and arrears.

She said the new box that the official installed had not worked since February because she “owes the metro”.

“This one is now blocked too.”

She said she went to metro offices in Mamelodi to lodge a dispute where she was given a form to fill in and then told to take it to the Tshwane metro office in Pretorius Street in town.

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“There an official announced to his colleagues that if anyone touched my form, she/he will be fired and I was told to take the form to the metro office in Centurion. I told them I could not because I had no money left.

“Another official told me to go to the metro office in Pretoria West to lay a complaint. There I was again told to go to Centurion to lay a complaint.

“I have asked the officials to send a technician to check if I have tampered the box but I was told that the technicians are all out and no one can help me unless I pay the arrears.

How can the metro hire people who cannot do their job and today we are left with a big problem and everywhere we go we are sent from pillar to post.”

At the moment the family is living in the dark and uses a paraffin stove to cook.

“Life is difficult without electricity because I cannot buy groceries for the month I must buy food on a daily basis which is expensive.

“Our lives have completely changed because of two officials who came to our house leaving all the other houses and tampered with our box, then blamed us for it.

“We let them in because we thought it was a routine check but these were amateurs and today we are left with a bill of more than R20 000 of which we cannot afford,” she said.

“Our electricity bills had been up to standard at all times now suddenly two amateurs came and tampered with the box and want to the blame us.

An official at the metro also claimed the metro had installed another box at the house in 2015, which was not true.

The box was installed in 2007.

They also claim not to know the inspectors that came to the house to change the box.

Silawula said: “How are we going to survive without electricity and winter is around the corner and we have two small children in the house.”

In total the electricity bill now is R24 488 including levy.

Silawula said all she wanted was for the metro to replace this box with the old one then explain where these fees came from.

The metro had not commented at the time of going to print.

Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to [email protected]za or phone us on 083 625 4114.

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Stephen Selaluke
Mamelodi journalist

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