Alberton joins forces against electricity giant

The AfriForum branch in Alberton today joined forces with various institutions – including the DA, the Freedom Front Plus, Alberton Heritage Association and other affected enterprises – to form the Alberton First Alliance. This Alliance aims to oppose Eskom’s proposed decision to erect high-voltage power lines in Alberton’s city centre.

The construction of the power lines will have a direct impact on about 52 800 residents and nearly 1 000 pupils of Alberton Primary School.

The Alliance has also compiled a 6-point action plan, setting out the following plans:

  • Lodge an appeal with the Department of Environmental Affairs against the council’s approval of the decision to erect the high-voltage power lines;
  • Engage in an urgent discussion with Eskom’s project management team and insist on alternative routes;
  • Submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA, Act No. 2 of 2000) to oblige the municipality to disclose all relevant information regarding the final erection of the high voltage power lines;
  • Start an online petition;
  • Mobilise the community;
  • Approach the Supreme Court on procedural irregularities.

“The council has already decided to approve Eskom’s plans without any public participation process and consultation with stakeholders. The Alliance is opposed to the construction of power lines for various reasons, among other things because these 400 000-volt power lines pose a risk to all residents and homeowners; because the value of properties will decrease; because homeowners will be forced to sell their homes to make room for this erection; and because the environment will also be affected by this,” said Marie Naude, AfriForum’s assistant co-ordinator for Gauteng.

Naude also said that six homeowners already had to sell their homes as a result of this project, which has been planned since 2008.

“Eskom has also not contacted Alberton’s Heritage Society in connection with heritage property that will be affected by the construction of the high-voltage power lines,” said Beverley-Ann Small, chairperson of Alberton’s Heritage Society.

Bruna Heipel, DA councillor for ward 106 in Alberton, said that a number of motions, letters, requests and petitions that were handed to the Ekurhuleni Local Municipality on behalf of the public, had simply fallen deaf ears.

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