Lenasia South’s Amatolas residents take charge by installing solar-powered streetlights to stop crime during outages

After experiencing firsthand the dangers of lack of barricades and reduced visibility during loadshedding and other outages that included, a break-in, assault and use of the street as shortcut, residents of Amatolas Place in Lenasia South Ext 4 decided to take control of their safety by embarking on a proactive mission to install pallisades sometime back, last week they installed solar-powered streetlights to illuminate their streets during power outages [the area has about 12 functional streetlights which only work when there’s power].

Amatolas Place neighbours joined forces to secure their area about 2 years ago

Even after erecting boom gates manned by security personnel, vulnerabilities still existed as lack of proper lighting during loadshedding and other power outages caused by cable theft and other infrastructure challenges could still provide cover for criminals who could deceive the guards and enter the section under false pretences of visiting someone. With this in mind, the Amatolas Committee proposed a comprehensive solution of installing remote controlled Solar LED lights on every light pole in their street. With each resident owning a remote, the lights can be set to automatically switch on when it’s dark, can also be set to brighten when sensing movement and can be set to be on for a specific time period.

The initiative required significant investment, but the community including the elderly residents rallied together to shoulder the financial burden. Through collaborative efforts and shared responsibility, they contributed towards the purchase of the lights and used available manpower to install them. This is a testament to the community’s unity and resilience, transcending mere neighbourliness to build a familial bond grounded in the spirit of Ubuntu.

Speaking to GLOBE POST, Vinesh Nannan, Chairman of Amatolas Place Committe, expressed gratitude to every resident who contributed to the project and emphasized the transformative impact of their collective action. “After taking these steps, we have not encountered any problems with crime. Our security guard only works at night because during the day, most of the residents here work from home and we have two way radios to relay messages to each other in case anything happens.”

Nannan envisions a future where every street in Lenasia South and beyond adopts similar initiatives. He said “By illuminating their streets, communities can increase visibility and make their neighborhoods safer for all.”

The story of Amatolas Place serves as a beacon of hope amidst the power crisis. It exemplifies the power of community-driven solutions and the resilience of ordinary citizens in the face of adversity. As the nation continues to grapple with its energy challenges, initiatives like these offer a glimmer of hope and a pathway towards a brighter, safer future.

In 2023, South Africa grappled with a dire power crisis, leaving citizens in the dark for extended periods. Independent energy analyst Pieter Jordaan’s year-end report revealed a staggering statistic: the average South African spent 19.9% of the year without electricity due to loadshedding. This translated to a harrowing 72.6 days or 1,742 hours of blackout time, more than double that of 2022 and nearly tenfold compared to 2021. The figure can be high for residents of Lenasia South and surroundings who endure extended blackouts as a result of cable thefts and other infrastructure challenges.

This is part of the GLOBE POST’s focus on reporting through a solutions lens. Do you have any working projects created as a response to social challenges. Share with us on email: info@globepost.co.za

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