Multi-Party coalition led City of Johannesburg works to solve Crosby’s electricity issues

Crosby’s electricity woes seem never-ending, but the multi-Party coalition led City of Joburg administration is proactively working to resolve the ongoing power issues.

The residents have been without power since the substation situated at Old Castle Road near corner Katanga Road in Crosby was burnt down last week Tuesday and power was restored over the weekend. However, electricity issues in the Crosby area will continue due to several illegal connections coming from Slovo Park Informal Settlement.

The City of Joburg has worked swiftly and had the burnt-down substation replaced, and power restored to all affected residents.

Load-shedding is also a contributing factor to many power failures across the City of Joburg which is because of Eskom’s incompetency and old infrastructure.

This has resulted in many areas suffering many hours without power. The multi-party coalition led City of Johannesburg is actively working to help its residents to find an alternative solution to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply. It recently held an Energy Indaba to attract investment and start the process of bringing in independent power producers (IPPs) to mitigate the effects of load-shedding. In the DA-governed City of Cape Town, residents are protected from two stages of load shedding through the city’s interventions.

The DA is pleading with the residents to remain calm and reassures them that the multi-party coalition led government in the City of Joburg will continue to push for a sustainable and lasting solution for power issues in Crosby.

Furthermore, we demand that the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile to prioritise the Slovo Park in-situ housing project which will solve the electricity issues in the area.

The multi-party coalition led City of Johannesburg is committed to ensuring that all its residents have access to basic services such as electricity and water supply as part of their golden start commitment. Working together with the residents, we can fix Joburg and make it great again.

 

Where is the Minister of Police while Garankuwa SAPS is still in the dark?

Delays in ensuring that Garankuwa SAPS in Tshwane has electricity connections has had a huge impact on police services and the safety of residents. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reliably been informed that the Minister for Police, Bheki Cele was scheduled to visit the Garankuwa Police Station on Sunday 22 May 2022. This was announced to the CPF and Sectors two weeks ago, due to a large number of complaints, questions, and pressure that the DA applied to expose the fact that the Garankuwa SAPS has been without electricity for 8 months now.

 

This meeting was cancelled on Friday and some local councillors and community members arrived at the station on Sunday to find out that the meeting with the Minister was cancelled with no reasons supplied.

 

The Garankuwa Police Station receives its electricity directly from Eskom and despite numerous escalations and reports, the electricity has still not been restored. The police officers are working with their own personal cell phones to deal with complaints and use these cell phones to provide light when attending to matters at night.

 

This is a huge safety risk not only for the Police Officers but also for the community at large. The police are forced to keep the gates of the station closed with limited access. The community cannot reach the station on the provided number due to the electricity failure and the officers cannot access the 10111-line due to the lack of Wifi as a result of the unavailability of electricity.

 

In recent questions to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko about Garankuwa, the MEC washed her hands of any accountability and said it’s the responsibility of the National Police Department and Public Works to address.

 

The DA is disappointed that MEC Mazibuko, the Minister for Police and Minister for Public Works, have still not prioritised this station and addressed the issue as a matter of urgency.

 

We have entered the winter season and it is becoming darker much earlier and light much later. We are in the midst of a cold front and police officers are expected to continue their work with very little assistance from their principals.

 

The Minister needs to explain why this meeting was cancelled and when he will address the issues at Garankuwa and provide a clear action plan with timelines as to when this issue will be addressed.

 

The DA in Gauteng will work with our counterparts in the NCOP and NA to apply pressure and investigate this matter now on a national basis.

 

 

 

ANC determined to make Johannesburg residents pay for debt owed to Eskom and poor infrastructure

City Power has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Eskom to start the process of City Power taking over the responsibility of electricity supply to current Eskom-supply areas such as Soweto, Ivory Park, Orange Farm, Diepsloot and Sandton.

However, very few details have been disclosed except that City Power will “conduct its own due diligence study on Eskom’s infrastructure and assets in the areas… The due diligence study will consider, among others, the state and value of the infrastructure that would eventually be sold to City Power, [and] the outstanding debt owed by customers to Eskom”.

This alone implies that the ANC-led Johannesburg have no problem making the residents carry the cost for this takeover.

Under no circumstances, should the residents be forced into a situation of inheriting and paying for any of Eskom’s mess, such as Soweto’s ballooning debt, and the current state of Eskom’s infrastructure in their supply areas. The infrastructure in current Eskom-supply areas is in a terrible state, with regular breakdowns, leaving residents with outages for weeks on end.

Those residents can afford to pay for electricity must do so, while those who cannot afford to pay, must be referred to the City’s Expanded Social Package programme.

For City Power to inherit the debt and current state of infrastructure would collapse the municipal-owned entity within months. This could very well lead to further mass outages across the city and an eventual collapse of the municipal power grid.

While the DA supports in principle, the takeover of Eskom supply areas by City Power, this can only be done with an agreement where Eskom will undertake to resolve the debt owed to them, and repair and replace any ageing and broken down infrastructure in their supply areas.

Further to this, National Treasury would need to provide City Power with conditional grants during the years of the gradual takeover, so that City Power’s absorption of the current Eskom customers would not negatively affect the municipal entity’s financial balance.

A DA-led Johannesburg will not place the residents in any situation where they bail out Eskom’s mess. National government must take responsibility for the failures of their entity and not dare pass this buck onto the ratepayers of Johannesburg.

This is exactly why the DA supports local government taking control over electricity supply. The DA in Johannesburg wants to move away from relying solely on the failed Eskom model. Only once Eskom has upgraded their infrastructure in their supply areas, a DA-led City Power can take over and start opening up supply to a diverse pool of competitive independent power producers, so that residents can finally start being free of Eskom loadshedding, and the cost of electricity can start to come down.

Only a DA-led Johannesburg will get things done and keep the lights on in the City of Gold.

A DA Johannesburg will take charge of electricity supply – without ratepayers paying more to bail out Eskom

The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejects the misleading information circulated this weekend about its position on energy supply in Johannesburg.

It seeks to play off communities against one another for media headlines.

The DA supports local government taking charge of electricity supply and ending the failed Eskom model.

This includes stable, economically advantageous electricity provision to areas such as Soweto, Ivory Park, Orange Farm and Sandton.

This can be done with a fair, best practice, cross-subsidisation funding model suitable to a local government driving economic growth across the city.

In no uncertain terms, will the DA support any proposal where Sandton or other Johannesburg residents are subjected to higher electricity rates to further bail out Eskom’s mess such as of ballooning debt and backlog of ageing infrastructure.

ANC corruption has destroyed the City’s finances and created a backlog of basic services while resulting in many unnecessary job losses.

That is why the DA actively drives the procurement of electricity by municipalities from a diverse pool of independent power producers – as seen in the Western Cape where loadshedding is being directly addressed.

The competition among power producers can help drive down the costs of electricity rates for residents; ensure they can keep more money in their pockets and create economic growth and job creation.

This is exactly what the DA wants to get done in Johannesburg.

Any takeover of Eskom supply areas by City Power cannot be unconditional and no ANC mess will be passed onto the rate payers of the city.

Those that can afford to pay, must pay for their electricity; those who cannot afford to must be ably assisted – while jobs are created – illegal connections must be ended, and poor revenue collection and breakdown of infrastructure turned around.

Just like in Cape Town and elsewhere where we are clearly a model party of good government, the DA will get things done in the City of Gold.

A plan for Soweto’s electricity crisis must start with better security

Yesterday, I visited residents of Soweto to see and hear first-hand what they are going through with the supply of electricity, on top of a range of service delivery issues.

This crisis was apparent in Soweto Zone 9, where a City Power transformer had blown up and left residents to survive on their own generators.
The state of electricity supply in Soweto has been a burning issue for residents for many years but there has been no actual plan to resolve it.

While Eskom is responsible for most of the supply of electricity to Soweto, illegal connections, by-passed meters and backyard dwellers have unfortunately added severe strain to the fragile power grid where demand remains high, while supply remains low.

This results in a faster breakdown of substations and transformers, which only intensifies the problem. Some residents experience multiple outages a day, while some residents are left without power for up to six months. The explosions of transformers and constant outages also cause damage to resident’s appliances.

Soweto needs an urgent response to begin stabilising the power supply. We propose:

• A co-ordinated programme between SAPS, JMPD and neighbourhood watch groups to increase eyes-on-the-street and deter vandals and illegal connections
• Improved security at all transformers, substations, and minisubs with CCTVs and alarms
• A new mobile police station in another strategic location of the area to boost policing
• Replacing all broken streetlights to deter criminals
• Re-evaluating supply and supplement the demand where necessary

Residents of Noordgesig have also reported constant billing errors due to confusing erf numbers, while residents of Orlando West have told me about the complete lack of consultation between them, Eskom, and their ward councillor, which only makes their frustration around outages worse.

The reality remains that some residents are simply not able to pay for supply. These residents need to be referred to and registered on the Expanded Social Package (ESP), a package of rebates that are extended towards those below a certain income bracket within the city. For those who do not qualify for ESP, we need to create an environment that encourages residents to pay for these services by educating on the importance of revenue collection and what it does to help improve communities and the lives of residents. But this requires cleaning out corruption so that confidence with residents can be built.

Access to quality services is a core goal of a DA-led government under my leadership, and we will make it a priority to come up with a decisive plan to resolve the Soweto power crisis. This needs to start with proper security measures for the power grid and improved safety for residents. We will also ensure that all billing errors are resolved in seven days, and that residents receive the proper information that they deserve.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Gauteng residents deprived of basic services with unfunded municipal budgets during 2021/22 financial year

Access to basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation by thousands of residents in seven local municipalities, including two district municipalities in Gauteng will be severely affected with these municipal councils having once again presented unfunded budgets for the 2021/22 financial year.

It is now becoming a norm that especially local municipalities are presenting unfunded budgets, which always results in a negative impact on service delivery.

Eskom and Rand Water are the two main creditors affected when an unfunded budget is presented by local municipalities, resulting in a reduction of services to our residents in the affected municipalities, such as scheduled electricity cuts during the day, making it even harder for residents to get by during the cold winter.

In response to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko revealed that the following municipalities have provided an unfunded budget for this financial year:

  • Mogale City Local Municipality
  • Lesedi Local Municipality
  • Emfuleni Local Municipality
  • Sedibeng District Municipality
  • Rand West Local Municipality
  • West Rand District Municipality
  • Merafong Local Municipality

It is appalling that thousands of residents living in these municipalities will be subjected to substandard service delivery or none at all because these municipalities do not have enough cash resources on hand to ensure that their creditors are paid on time.

This means that residents who are already suffering because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, now have to pay for services that they are not receiving on a regular basis.

In addition, where services such as electricity and water are affected, it means that our residents are unable to cook food for their families and regularly wash their hands.

Furthermore, small businesses are also affected by the constant disruption of electricity by Eskom due to load reduction, which means that they lose valuable clientele when they are unable to operate.

If MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko is serious about ensuring that all local municipalities are able to present funded budgets, she will as a matter of urgency, conduct an internal inquiry to ascertain exactly why it is that seven out of eight local municipalities are not able to present a funded budget year after year. This trend clearly points to poor planning on the part of the municipality and a lackadaisical approach to their responsibility of providing services to residents.

The DA-led Midvaal is the only local municipality that has presented a funded budget in the province. Midvaal is committed to ensuring that they have enough cash liquidity so that residents can get the service delivery they need and deserve. The DA will continue to shine the spotlight on the lack of service delivery in these seven municipalities as it is unfair that residents are not provided with what they truly deserve.

Local Government Elections are coming up! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Emfuleni residents battle Covid-19 without water and electricity

With no water and electricity, residents will endure an even tougher battle against the third wave of Covid-19, where they will be unable to use hot water to clean and protect themselves from the virus.

Emfuleni Local Municipality officials are struggling to reach out to its residents to attend to service delivery issues due to the shortage of vehicles, which greatly concerns the DA.

Only 129 out of 522 vehicles are roadworthy and operational in Emfuleni Local Municipality, which impacts negatively on service delivery in terms of officials attending to service delivery complaints such as power outages, water leakages and sewer blockages. 

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile, in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Maile, 302 vehicles are still waiting to be sent for repairs and 91 vehicles are being repaired. In total 393 vehicles are not operational in Emfuleni.

Furthermore, 41 vehicles have been repaired but have been kept by the service provider for over two years due to non-payment.

It is unacceptable for service providers not to be paid on time for services rendered which result in service delivery being interrupted and harms the sustainability of small businesses.

This is a clear indication that Emfuleni is experiencing a serious long-term cash flow crisis which has resulted in failing to pay service providers for services rendered.

It has now become a norm for this municipality not to pay service providers on time such as Telkom, resulting in telecommunication lines being suspended, where residents could not communicate service delivery issues directly to the Municipality.  

Emfuleni must prioritise paying service providers within a 30-day payment period, ensuring that no services to residents are interrupted.

The current situation in Emfuleni is a clear indication that the current government and its administrators are failing to rescue this municipality from its long financial crisis.

Emfuleni residents have suffered enough of a lack of service delivery under the current administration and the only solution to this long-suffering is to vote for a change of administration during this coming local government elections. By voting for the DA, we will ensure that we replicate what we have been doing in Midvaal to the residents of Emfuleni, where service delivery is rolled out on a sustainable basis with a responsive municipality that always strives to timeously deal with any issues. 

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status

DA calls on MEC Maile to intervene in Ekurhuleni electricity crisis

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned about the continuous power outages in Ekurhuleni yet the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile is doing nothing to resolve this crisis.

Ekurhuleni has been experiencing power outages almost daily which has left thousands of residents without electricity.

This current electricity crisis is as a result of the City’s failure to have sufficient technical staff within the electricity department as well as a shortage of necessary resources.

It is MEC Maile’s responsibility to coordinate and ensure the effective functioning of local government, promote integrated development planning, and deepen participatory democracy in order to accelerate service delivery. However, it seems MEC Maile is conveniently ignoring the current crisis at hand as Ekurhuleni fails to function effectively due to abnormal power outages.

The growth and effectiveness of the City’s economy is measured by the number of necessities such as electricity that it provides to its people.

The DA is calling on MEC Maile to intervene and resolve Ekurhuleni’s power outages as a matter of urgency. We will also be tabling questions to MEC Maile in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain the reason behind the continuous power outages in Ekurhuleni and what has been done by his department as part of the required interventions.

DA commends City of Joburg for speedy restoration of electricity, water services

by Dr Heinrich Volmink MPL – DA Regional Chairperson of Johannesburg

The DA in Johannesburg would like to commend the City of Joburg for its speedy response in fixing the Rand Water Eikenhof pump station this week.

On Monday a substation located next to the Rand Water Board caught fire, which resulted in power outages and the disruption of water supply to parts of Joburg.

City Power and its contractors worked around the clock to install and test a new transformer in just 30 hours. Normally this would take up to 72 hours.

Dedicated City Power officials went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that residents were not severely inconvenienced by the outages.

This indicates that the DA-led administration puts the residents of Johannesburg first and is committed to delivering quality services at all times where we govern.

However, there are allegations that the fire at the substation was an act of sabotage, and we welcome the investigation launched by Mayor Herman Mashaba.

We strongly condemn this action as it impacts negatively on service delivery.

The DA is committed to the delivery of services to the people and we will not be derailed by anarchists and criminals.

MEC Lesufi, Restore Power To Tshwane West Education District Office

Tshwane West Education District

The Tshwane West Education District office has no electricity supply, negatively impacting on the ability of schools in the area to carry out their duties.

The DA conducted an oversight visit to the office today, only to find that the office has been without electricity since Monday. There have been no assurances from the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) as to when power will be restored to the facility.

As the new school year has only just got underway, it is beyond belief that there are already challenges like this at the Tshwane West Education District office. This will have a substantial impact on teaching and learning.

Financial Shortfall

It is not clear whether the situation is due to a financial shortfall, as has been experienced in the case of teachers who marked 2016 grade 12 examination papers.

District offices must always be capacitated, so that quality services are rendered to schools. Staff at this office have been reporting to work yet cannot perform their duties.

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, must urgently rectify this situation before another critical week of school support is lost.

 

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Education Shadow MEC

082 398 7375

[Image source]