Dobsonville residents in Soweto have been without electricity for over three weeks now. Residents say this blackout is a result of a faulty transformer, which has been giving problems since 2015.

The substation also exploded recently, leaving almost 20 houses without electricity.

The residents say they have asked Eskom to fix the problem and were promised that technicians would be dispatched.

The residents say life has been difficult, as everyday they have to buy food which has to be cooked immediately. Refrigerators, stoves and other electrical appliances are not working.

Resident Matselane Mongkgae says now they have to spend more to make it through these dark times.

“We have to buy food everyday and get gas cylinders. Some people don’t have the money, so they have to get wood to make fire outside. We are back now in the villages where we don’t have electric stoves. We don’t have a kitchen, we cook outside,” says Mongkgae.

One resident says she has to beg help from her neighbours a few meters from her house, who have electricity.

“I have two kids, first born has sinus and asthma. The second one still uses a bottle. So, it’s very difficult. We ask people from the other side. We are bothering people. At times, you knock and they do not open and you can’t be angry at these people. We survive by knocking at the people with electricity asking for help with water, cooking. At times, the children survive on bread,” says the resident.

A community leader, David Senatle, says they have tried asking Eskom for help, with no luck.

“It’s been three weeks without electricity and we tried to engage with Eskom and our councillor and they promised to bring their technicians to come and check the transformer. After Eskom came the electricity came for few hours until it went off again. We called them several times and they promised to come, but until today they haven’t shown up,” says Senatle.

Eskom says it is not aware of the situation, but promised to attend to the residents’ complaints.