400 Local residents petitioned power outages
Rustenburg – Electricity outages in the outlying areas of Rustenburg are a common occurrence. There have been a number of public meetings with the Rustenburg Local Municipality, the last on 11 February, where the municipality presented a plan of action to residents that would address the regular electricity outages.
While we are very grateful for the reduction in the number of electricity outages in the Rietvlei and Donkerhoek areas, the situation in the area between the R24 and the R104 has deteriorated to the extent that residents suffer up to 15 electricity supply failures a week. The plan of action presented to residents by the municipality has not been implemented yet. Electricity supply failures regularly occur in the evenings, forcing residents to wait out the night until late the following morning before the municipality dispatches a technical team to restore electricity supply.
The main reason for the electricity supply failures provided to residents by the municipality in this area is the inability of the municipality to maintain trees growing along with the electricity cables because residents are reluctant to allow them access to some properties.
“This is false, since 2016, in my then capacity as a ward councillor, and now as a member of parliament, I have made myself available to coordinate access between the municipal maintenance teams and residents, to either accompany the teams personally or have another Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor accompany them to cut down tree branches responsible for damaging electricity cables. It is only in the last two weeks that the municipality approached Jean Keyser, a community volunteer, to assist with access to properties,” said DA member of parliament Cheryl Phillips.
In addition, the municipality informed some residents that they would have to pay up to R80,000 to have new electricity cables installed to replace damaged ones because the municipality does not have the funding available to maintain the grid.
Illegal connections are rife and until such a time as the municipality address the issue of illegal connections and registering indigents for free, legally connected basic services, it will become a bigger problem in future.
Residents are frustrated because the municipality cannot be trusted to implement the plans of maintenance that was presented. This past weekend, in less than 12 hours, more than 400 local residents pitched up to sign a DA petition, addressing the matter.
Phillips will be submitting this petition to COGTA Minister Dlamini-Zuma, the North West member of the executive council for Cooperative Development and Traditional Affairs and also to NERSA, to appeal to them to force the Rustenburg Local Municipality to maintain the by grid, to stock the required equipment and replacement parts to execute repairs and to have technical teams conduct maintenance on a shift schedule to speed up repairs.
DA press release extracts, 24 June 2020
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