Premier promises that electricity will be taken back to Eskom

Ms Refilwe Mtsweni (Mpumalanga Premier) speaks to the eMbalenhle community last Wednesday at the Risko Fakude Stadium.

eMBALENHLE – Govan Mbeki Municipality has taken a resolution to hand over the function of distributing the electricity back to Eskom on Friday, 29 June at a special council meeting.

Ms Refilwe Mtsweni, Mpumalanga Premier, announced this decision to residents of eMbalenhle who gathered at the Risko Fakude Stadium on 27 June.

She was responding to residents’ demands after they had protested over poor service delivery in the area.

Among other things, they demanded that council relinquishes its power of supplying electricity back to Eskom due to their failure to service their account.

Govan Mbeki Municipality owes Eskom more than R500 million and was among the 10 municipalities that were summoned to Parliament to explain their failure to pay Eskom.

Ms Mtsweni said the former premier, Mr DD Mabuza, advised the defaulting municipalities to take the electricity supply back to Eskom.

She said this will not happen overnight, but instructed council to take a resolution so the processes could begin.

“We have heard your demands, hence the decision however you have to bear with us.

“We have decided to come up with a short term intervention plan to try to combat the constant power outages in the area.

“We have identified a substation that could be used to increase the megawatt to prevent the power outages.

“Mr Speed Mashilo, MEC for Cogta, and I will assist the municipality to engage Eskom on the matter.”

Ms Mtsweni also announced that Mr Thisha Mhlanga, acting municipal manager, would be removed from his position as demanded by the residents.

Government intervenes on the Council’s Eskom debt

She said an acting municipal manager will be announced until a new municipal manager is appointment.

Ms Mtsweni also raised her concerns over the allegations of corruption and maladministration in the council as alleged by the protesters.

She said the province will institute a forensic investigation to expose the alleged corruption.

She said a team of investigators will be introduced to the community soon.

Ms Mtsweni told residents that nearly R60 million has been allocated to deal with sewer spillages in the area.

The premier promised residents that the Gert Sibande District Municipality will bring trucks so that waste collection is done in the area.

“I will come very soon to hand over another fleet.

“We will then launch the Clean eMbalenhle Campaign and will go to the street and clean the township.

“Another thing that upsets residents is the budget.

“This budget must be passed legally so that locals will get services.

“We have instructed that the speaker’s car and mayor’s car are removed from the budget.”

Ms Mtsweni condemned the vandalising and torching of the mall during the protest.

She said the law must take its cause and those who committed the crime during the protest should be arrested.

Also read: Protesters looted and burned down [email protected] violent protest

Mr Khulu Phasiwe, Eskom spokesman, said Eskom heard about the resolution but for now is entirely depending on the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) and Govan Mbeki Municipality.

“We will wait for a directive from Nersa and will take it from there.

“Eskom already gives service to the people.”

Residents were pleased with the development regarding the electricity crisis and hope this will bring lasting solutions.

The leader of the march said they will soon release a press statement about the matter.

Post office goes up in flames during eMbalenhle service delivery protest

  AUTHOR
Sifiso Mathebula
Journalist

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