Soweto residents protest against pre-paid meters

Mpho Raborife and Naledi Shange, News24

Johannesburg - Soweto residents blocked a main road in the area on Thursday in protest against pre-paid electricity meters, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) said.

They placed burning tyres in Sofasonke Road, Orlando East, in a bid to stop Eskom from installing the new meters, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

By 15:30 the crowd had been dispersed and the road cleared. Eskom said it had not sent its workers back to the area since Tuesday, when it was forced to withdraw them after residents threatened to harm them.
This was despite a series of meetings with residents and notices about the so-called split meters, the power utility said in a statement.

The aim of installing the new meters was to stop illegal connections and allow residents to control their own consumption.

A split meter consists of a pad in each home, used to load pre-paid electricity, and a tamper-proof box on the pavement or on a pole outside the house.