Our residents are once again suffering through another round of load-shedding simply because the State-Owned Entity (SOE) Eskom is just not up to the task of providing a regular supply of electricity to the country.
In addition, it is very worrying that the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has no intention of assisting municipalities in the province to procure electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
This information was revealed to me in a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to the MEC for COGTA, Lebogang Maile. According to the MEC, the department will not be providing any support to municipalities as Section 154 of the Constitution makes provision for municipalities to do this on their own.
However, given the current state of our municipalities especially the local and district municipalities, it would be prudent for MEC Maile, to provide any assistance they may need to procure additional electricity that will at least provide some protection from load shedding.
Procuring electricity from IPPs is of vital importance, especially since the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau admitted that around 122 500 jobs have been lost in this province to the continued load-shedding.
The DA is demanding that MEC Maile together with other municipalities follow the lead taken by the City of Johannesburg Mayor, Mpho Phalatse in holding an energy summit. This is crucial if we want our struggling municipalities like Emfuleni and Merafong to become financially more secure as a continued supply of electricity is crucial to keep the wheels of any economy turning.