Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
ALMOST half of Bulawayo has been plunged into darkness, with residential areas the most affected, after heavy rains that were accompanied by thunder and lightning damaged three substations.
The power outage happened on Thursday afternoon.
Since then, suburbs such as Paddonhurst, North End, Sunnyside, Romney Park, Queens Park, Cowdray Park, Pumula East, Entumbane, Emakhandeni, Njube, Thorngrove, Nguboyenja, Mzilikazi, Hillside, Gwabalanda, Luveve, Mahatshula, Richmond and Sauerstown, have gone more than a day without electricity.
The Chronicle has been inundated with phone calls from residents who expressed concern that thieves and thugs will take advantage and rob them using the cover of darkness.
In Paddonhurst, a powerline was taken down by a tree that fell on it and the neighbourhood has been without power since.
Mr Mthokozisi Ndlovu, a resident, said he missed watching two historic events, the Zanu-PF Congress and the Zimbabwe national cricket team’s historic victory over Pakistan on Thursday.
“As patriotic Zimbabweans, we feel hard done by the lack of power and especially the silence of Zesa on the situation and what they are doing to rectify it.
“I couldn’t follow the Zanu-PF Congress on television because of the power cuts and the Zimbabwe Chevrons’ historic win against Pakistan. On Sunday I fear missing out on watching Highlanders playing against Dynamos at the Nation Sports Stadium as the game will be beamed live on television,” said Ndlovu.
Mr Luthuso Ncube from North End suburb said she was afraid that crime will increase as the neighbourhood enters its second night without electricity.
“We have had to get rid of some of our meat as it was rotting. Also, there is an issue of crime in our neighbourhood, without electricity we risk having break-ins and being mugged when going home from work,” he said.
A resident of Gwabalanda, Mr Temba Dube fears that the meat he bought will go bad soon.
“I bought meat such as 10 chickens, beef 15kg, fish and pork 10kg, for our monthly relish this week and I filled the fridge. I don’t know what to do as the people who help us when such situations happen, are also without electricity,” said Mr Dube.
Ms Martha Ndlovu from Mahatshula said she tried to get information from the official ZETDC Twitter account but there was no message.
“A peep on the ZETDC Twitter page showed that there was no message as to what was happening in Bulawayo,” said Ndlovu.
“The biggest problem is not staying in the dark but the risk of being robbed when there is no electricity. Thieves take advantage of such circumstances to rob innocent residents. Yesterday our dogs were barking non-stop. We were no longer sure what was happening outside so we slept in fear.”
ZETDC Western region manager Engineer Lloyd Jaji said three substations are down.
“There are three substations around Bulawayo that were affected by the heavy rains, on Thursday. These are the ones in Queens Park, Emagetsini and Lensdile. So, the suburbs that are supplied have no electricity at the moment,” said Engineer Jaji.
He said engineers are working around the clock to fix the problem.
Article Source: The Chronicle