Bothasig shines during power blackout

Volunteers who distributed food during a lengthy power cut at Bothasig Gardens, from left, are Joanne Coetzee, Joy Titus, Jenni Stokkel, Michelle Barends, Patricia de Beer and Valerie Stein.

Bothasig Gardens residents say they have a newfound respect for the saying “when days are dark, friends are few” because they gained many friends when their power was cut off for three days last week.

People in the surrounding areas let the Bothasig Gardens residents charge their phones and boil their kettles on Sunday afternoon June 26, during what they thought was an extended Eskom power outage.

According to the residents of the social housing complex, the power went out just after 11.30am on Sunday and was only restored on Tuesday June 28.

Bothasig Gardens resident Joy Titus said she and a few residents who have gas cylinders cooked big pots of food to feed the 630 people, including babies and the elderly, who live at the complex.

“Many of us came together and contributed what we had in our fridge, and we could feed the families here,” she said.

However, on Monday morning when residents woke up and the power was still off, community WhatsApp groups started sending out messages to residents in the wider community to help the Bothasig Gardens families.

Ms Titus said residents were still in the dark about what had caused the blackout at the complex and they feared it might happen again.

Jenni Stokkel, one of the founders of Bothasig Neighbourhood Watch, said she had called on other residents to help Bothasig Gardens and donations of food and money had come “pouring in”.

On Wednesday June 29, Tabletalk found the volunteers cooking a chicken and vegetable stew from left-over donations.

A Bothasig-based non-profit, Locals helping Locals, stepped in to hand out food parcels, milk and bread, and volunteers from Bothasig and surrounds cooked food and distributed it to Bothasig Gardens residents from the complex’s community hall.

Residents said Communicare, the non-profit company that owns Bothasig Gardens, had also donated water and food to residents.

Bothasig Gardens resident Jodie Wilson thanked everyone who had helped to distribute food and water.

“During this hardship, we are privileged and blessed to live amongst these types of community members. Bothasig, you are amazing neighbours, and we salute and appreciate you all,” she said.

The City’s communications department said Bothasig Gardens fell within an Eskom supply area.

Eskom’s Western Cape spokesman Kyle Cookson said: “The fault is on the customer’s (Communicare’s) side, and the customer had to appoint a contractor to tend to the fault.”

Communicare said a power surge had caused the blackout, which had been resolved with the assistance of both Eskom and the Communicare electrician.

Communicare’s spokeswoman Reyana Nacerodien said Bothasig Gardens was not exempt from the power problems many areas were experiencing.

“Cables were previously replaced by Eskom due to damage from a power surge about two years ago. To assist with handling an increased load capacity, upgraded fuses were fitted,” she said.

Communicare was pleased to see how the tenants and the wider community had come together to support those in need, she said.

Some of the donated supplies received by Bothasig Gardens residents.