Eskom was forced to obtain an urgent court order to evict protesters who took over its power distribution centre for Gauteng after the police refused to intervene, says a Netwerk24 report.

Eskom said in its urgent application that the distribution centre in Menlyn, Pretoria, came under siege from residents who demanded that their electricity supply be reconnected.

The Eskom managers refused, according to the court papers, after which about 20 protesters took over the centre overnight when Eskom personnel fled for their safety.

Thomas Tshabalala, Eskom’s distribution safety manager for Gauteng, described the particular distribution centre as the ‘nerve system’ for distribution to the entire province which then faced a real risk of a total blackout.

After the court order was granted, the police removed the protesters.

Protesters from Winterveld have also been interdicted from storming the client service centre in Ga-Rankuwa again.

The centre remains closed after protesters assaulted personnel and vandalised the building. Eskom said in a statement last week that it would not reconnect electricity to defaulting areas.

Full Netwerk24 report (subscription needed)