Sunday, August 14, 2011

Letter to Mr. Whitehead, Ethekwini Elect.Dept.
(re-typed here on Sunday 14th August 2011 at 12.36pm for your amusement)

*Below is one of several letters I ended up hand-delivering to Mr. Whitehead.  On the only occasion I managed to access his front office, his Secretary Ms. Rose Naidoo informed me that he was in a Meeting, so I left the letter with her.  Whether Mr. Whitehead ever saw it personally, is anyone's guess....*

The Director,
Ethekwini Electricity Dept.
Head Office,

21st September 2005.

Dear Sir,


With regard to my letters of 31st August 2005 and 16th September 2005 (copies enclosed) addressed to Mr. Chris Gower and Yegan Reddy respectively, I wish to report the following.

Your contractor, Mr. Mike Oliver returned yesterday with commendable speed to remove the white boxes claimed to be a part of the above installation from the two street lights outside number 6 and number 8 Harris Crescent, respectively.  He once again said that they had nothing in them and therefore were useless, and that he had no idea why they had been installed in the first place.

This installation was originally done by a crew organised by Mr. Alan (misspelled throughout, and should read Allen) Spence, of which crew I have photographs.  The same Mr. Spence who personally came out to our address on Thursday 12th August 2004, to advise me on the details of the system, when I queried the street lights burning 24/7 for month after month, and the ensuing cost to ratepayers.  He informed me then that all the lights had to remain burning to make this system (one of only two in Durban) efficacious.

Your Mr. Rudi Mhlope and your recently departed Mr. Chris Gower were fully aware of this operation and obviously gave it their blessing?
While we have no means of proving the damage caused by surges from this now revealed to be questionable installation, we wish to place on record our dissatisfaction at the casual way your employees are permitted to 'enhance' individual ratepayers streetlights.
I am sure Mr. Alan Spence can give you an excellent reason for this installation, and the cost in labour alone that it must have incurred?  Unless he is lucky enough to have workers under him that follow his orders without payment during office hours?  In spite of Mr. Oliver's insistence that they were empty boxes and nothing worked?

Furthermore, for a system purported to be 'useless', the box outside Number 6 Harris Crescent had 2 small lights which were so tiny they could only clearly be seen in the dark. These were still visible after Mr. Oliver came out the first time to 'check' the boxes. Mr. Oliver was unable to explain the reason for this, when I drew his attention to it yesterday.  These lights were seen clearly by both myself and my husband, and now a day later, one of these lights still remains burning and is clearly visible after dark.

I would at this point refer you back to the power outage to our property and property No. 6 Harris Crescent on lSunday, June 26th 2005 at 8.55am and lasting for 2 to 3 hours before the supply was restored.
At 5.00pm on that same day I called your Faults centre as advised to find out the reason for the sudden outage.  I was clearly told that a 'shared fuse' between our property and number 6 had blown up at the sub-station in Jan Smuts Highway.  I repeat that this is a first time experience for us in the 30+ years of living at this address.   Your contractor, Mike Oliver, did attempt to explain the meaning of a shared fuse but I found the explanation unsatisfactory to say the least.

I would also refer you to the street light (singular) outside No. 6 going out completely on Monday evening the 29th August at 6.55pm, and coming back on in less than a minute.. Strange goings-on indeed, and of great concern to us, as stated in our previous letters.
I am aware that my neighbour, one Prakash Balliram, residing at Number 6 Harris Crescent, is in the IT business and no doubt has a full range of highly technical equipment operating on his premises.  If in some way our 'sharing a fuse' with this family could be causing the constant and ongoing disconnects to our Internet line, the disturbances occurring erratically on our landline, the many dips to our electricity supply, the burnout of power-boxes for scanner, printer, PC, even electric telephone, since the installation of the above 'system', we would appreciate an investigation into this matter as soon as possible.

Obviously we have been in touch with Telkom, who say they have tested our line and found no problem, and yet the disconnects and dips and disturbances continue unabated.  The revelation now revealed, that the highly technical COMPUTERISED anti-theft devices are nothing more than a couple of empty boxes attached to the streetlight poles, has left us no choice but to request your intervention in this strange matter.

We would be more than interested to hear Mr. Spence Jnr's story.  We were sorry to find that Mr. Chris Gower has subsequently left your employ and is dogged by illness?  I found him to be very polite on the occasions that I called him regarding the erratic behaviour of the streetlights.  The fact that they were Never synchronised as he promised they would be, is also interesting.

It would be extremely interesting to find out whether there are other members of the public that have been subjected to these problems?  Losing appliances hand over fist and no recourse due to the fine print on the Ethekwini Electricity documents and bills?  And as laymen, no way of proving that surges are being taken to their household supply, and that the Electricity Department's computerised equipment may well have caused, and IS causing damage.  Strangely enough it would appear that the damage occurs mainly, if not only, when one, two or even all the streetlights are on, be it during the day or night.

It must be stated at this point that the mere removal of these apparently 'dummy' boxes in no way allays our fears.  The street lights outside numbers 6,8 and 12/14 still run on a different set-up to the rest of the streetlights as far as the eye can see.  The light outside number 6 appears very often to come on either earlier or later than the rest of the streetlights, and my light and the one above it are frequently on during the day, after the rest have been switched off.  Until such time as these three lights are fully synchronised with the rest of the system we will regard the strong possibility of there being a fault with these particular lights, which in turn may be affecting our house supply... Once again I also state that the waiver printed on all the Electricity Dept. documents and bills etc would surely not apply, due to the exclusivity of these installations mentioned above.

Again I wish to state that I am lodging copies of this correspondence with various people as a safe-guard in the event that more than just power boxes and appliances are damaged at any point in the future.


Well?  Were you satisfactorily entertained by my early struggles to understand what was going on?  Are you impressed by Mr. Spence and Mr. Oliver and their behaviour?  Do you personally think that Howard Whitehead ever saw any of the correspondence directed his way?  If you find my account of the corruption taking place was in any way justifiable, then we do not share the same definition of criminal behaviour. *shrugs...

Sunday 14th August 2011 at 1.09pm.