MY response "Power thieves, beware!" (October 2) is mainly in defence of electricity theft for domestic use by squatters like me. It is disheartening to read that the municipality is gearing up to address this matter through the means portrayed in the article.
I however find nowhere where the municipality indicates that it hopes to electrify all homes in the metro by a certain date.
It is important that we understand what it is that the poor are risking their lives for. It is what the rest of our fellow South Africans take for granted such as to boil water in the morning for a cup of coffee.
Without the electricity it takes at least a half an hour to boil water for a cup of coffee.
This is assuming firstly you have paraffin which is what we use mostly in shacks. Secondly it means that you have a paraffin stove that works.
If you have the kind of stove I use then you need to pump the stove, after which you need to take a match to light the stove. If the stove burns well you have to put the kettle on the stove and God forbid that your child comes near the stove.
While waiting for the water to boil it is advisable to keep yourself busy with chores. I like to watch Morning Live and the news in the morning.
If I don't have electricity I need to use a battery for the TV. Depending on the kind of battery, it can last five to seven days.
Obviously you can't watch TV during the day or your battery runs flat and you have to charge it all the time. To charge a battery can be a mission of its own.
Without electricity I can't have a phone so if there is an emergency like my shack is burning I have to depend on my neighbours to make the call.
One of my favourite things is ironing clothes. Does anyone have an idea how painful it is when you painstakingly iron your white shirt for that auspicious occasion and a black stain from the smoke of the primus stove lands on it?
This has got nothing to do with opening the garage door or ringing the doorbell. Such luxuries are unknown to the squatter.
How about being 55 and never having had a bath in your life? I have even heard my friends at work talk about a shower.
Even If I steal electricity it is still a distant dream. Has anyone ever tried to cook a decent Sunday meal on a one burner primus stove, as a meal with three or more dishes is a mission?
Still our bosses expect us to be on time every day. How do you explain the intricacies of living without electricity, walking from home on a cold, wet, dark winter's morning, through the filthy muddy alleys of Vastrap, frustrated that you could not have a cup of coffee at 4am because the bus arrived at 4.45 for you to start your shift at 6.
How do I explain that the candle went out halfway through my studies or why my shirt is creased because the only paraffin stove I have gave in on me? How do I explain to my kids why they can't have a hot beverage any time they like?
How do I explain that I can't buy food in bulk because I don't have a fridge to store it in?
No matter what systems you will put in place, not even the threat of death can stop us from wanting what you have: basic decency to live.
Squatter citizen, Port Elizabeth