Petition by DA-led Stellenbosch takes power back from Eskom

The following statement was delivered by Dr Leon Schreiber MP in Parliament regarding a petition by residents of Jamestown, Stellenbosch calling on the National Assembly to investigate the transfer of management powers over the electricity network from Eskom to Stellenbosch Municipality. The speech is embargoed until delivery.

Honourable Speaker,

We all know that the majority of South African municipalities are dysfunctional.

Decades of cadre deployment and corruption have robbed most local government of the skills and resources they need to build thriving communities.

But we must never lose sight of the fact that there are some important exceptions to the decline, where officials are appointed on merit and where corruption is not tolerated.

In fact, we should all be actively promoting and learning from municipalities that move their communities forward despite being held back by a failing national government.

Dozens of DA-run municipalities are singled out every year by the Auditor-General and other agencies as bright stars in a dark universe.

En Stellenbosch munisipaliteit is een van hierdie héél helderste sterre.

Onder die leierskap van DA-burgemeester Gesie van Deventer en haar span, word hierdie munisipaliteit jaar-na-jaar uitgesonder as een van die bes-regeerde munisipaliteite in Suid-Afrika.

Just last week, the municipality’s new wastewater treatment plant won the Consulting Engineers of South Africa award for best project.

However, like many well-run DA municipalities, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the surrounding communities are being held back by the failures of national government.

Electricity provision is one of the most prominent examples.

We all know that the failed Eskom state monopoly is utterly incapable of meeting South Africa’s energy needs.

Yet, despite repeated promises that more power would be given to healthy municipalities like Stellenbosch, they still remain entirely reliant on Eskom for energy generation.

And in some parts of the municipality – including Jamestown, Kylemore, Klapmuts, La Motte and Wemmershoek – Eskom has entirely failed to maintain the electricity infrastructure, leading to regular blackouts even outside loadshedding hours.

Despite Eskom’s clear inability to maintain the network and despite a request from Stellenbosch Municipality to take over control of transmission and maintenance in these areas, Eskom has to date failed to hand over control.

Die mense van Jamestown en Mountain View was so keelvol vir aanhoudende kragonderbrekings, straatligte wat nie werk nie, sowel as die feit dat Eskom weier om beheer oor te dra aan die munisipaliteit, dat hulle vroeër vanjaar ‘n petisie aan die Parlement gerig het.

Honderde inwoners het die petisie onderteken, wat eis dat Eskom onmiddellik beheer oor die krag infrastruktuur aan Stellenbosch Munisipaliteit oordra.

As DA kiesafdelingshoof in Stellenbosch, het ek die petisie namens die gemeenskap aan die Parlement voorgelê.

Die boodskap vanaf die gemeenskap is duidelik.

Hulle het totaal vertroue verloor in die nasionale ANC-regering om in hul behoeftes te voorsien.

Hulle vertrou veel eerder hul DA-beheerde plaaslike munisipaliteit om die ligte aan te hou.

I am happy to report that, as a result of the cooperation between the community and the DA on this petition, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has personally undertaken to end the delays and to ensure that control is handed over to Stellenbosch Municipality as soon as possible.

The DA will hold him to this.

Just imagine the economic possibilities that beckon for the Stellenbosch valley if our municipality could get control over the electricity network.

By working with the private sector, we could eliminate load-shedding just like we eliminated potholes and failed service delivery when we took over from the ANC in Stellenbosch a decade ago.

Aan die mense van Stellenbosch wil ek graag sê: die DA is absoluut vasbeslote om dienslewering na selfs groter hoogtes te neem.

Ons is gereed om harder as ooit te veg om seker te maak dat meer regeringsmagte afgewentel word na gesonde munisipaliteite soos Stellenbosch, sodat ons die gemeenskap uiteindelik heeltemal kan bevry van Eskom beurtkrag.

Hou hierdie spasie dop.

Baie dankie.

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