S’Africa cuts off the lights at the Nigerian Consulate due to unpaid bills

Due to “unpaid bills,” City Power, a South African electrical distribution provider, has switched off power to the Nigerian consulate in Johannesburg.

The DisCo claimed the consulate owed at least R600,000 (about $35,000) on Wednesday.

“We are on our 2nd day of revenue collection drive around Alexandra Service Delivery Centre(SDC) (SDC). Here we started with the Nigerian Consulate General in Illovo who owe @CityofJoburgZA minimum of R600 000, and they were cut off,” City Power tweeted.

The Nigerian consulate reportedly closed its doors and forbade City Power from entering the structure, according to City Power’s representative Isaac Mangena.

When it became evident that no official meetings would take place, he continued, the electricity at the consulate was cut off.

The consulate criticised City Power’s activities in a statement on Wednesday, claiming they were against international agreements.

The consulate said that the arrival of the electrical provider “without prior notification and disrupted services” will be the subject of an investigation to rectify the “illegal infraction.”

The statement states, “The Nigerian Consulate General in Johannesburg hereby condemns the invasion of its premises by officers of Johannesburg City Council on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, ostensibly on a debt-recovery exercise.”

“Without prior notice or appointment, the invading squad, which included representatives of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), City Power, and the media, came at the consulate and hampered regular consular services.

The consulate contended that the officials’ actions, regardless of their justifications, were a flagrant violation of existing international laws and conventions, particularly the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, which ensures the confidentiality of consular premises.

As a result, the consulate general has expressed the displeasure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the South African Government through diplomatic channels, along with a demand that a thorough investigation be conducted into the illegal violation of the consulate general’s premises and that appropriate corrective measures be taken to prevent a repeat.

Residents of South Africa have been protesting prolonged power outages for years due to the country’s ongoing energy problem.

Recently, nationwide rallies turned violent as people’s discontent with the issue grew.

The administration responded by saying it was on track to approve a law accelerating power projects but warned that electricity shortages would last until 2024.

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