Eskom warns of dark De­cem­ber in Makana

Daily Dispatch - - News - ADRI­ENNE CARLISLE

Towns fall­ing un­der Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, in­clud­ing Makhanda (for­merly Gra­ham­stown), face a bleak De­cem­ber hol­i­day sea­son af­ter Eskom warned that it in- tended in­ter­rupt­ing bulk elec­tric­ity sup­ply to the de­fault­ing mu­nic­i­pal­ity from De­cem­ber 4.

The pro­longed in­ter­rup­tions – which from the sec­ond week in De­cem­ber will last over 14 hours a day – are likely to plunge es­sen­tial ser­vices into cri­sis. While in­sti­tu­tions such as Set­tlers Hos­pi­tal and Rhodes Univer­sity may have gen­er­a­tors, the cost of run­ning them is likely to be high, with the pro­hib­i­tive and es­ca­lat­ing cost of fuel.

In a no­tice pub­lished in pro­vin­cial news­pa­pers Fri­day, Eskom said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity owed it R67.5m.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s breach placed in jeop­ardy Eskom’s abil­ity to sup­ply elec­tric­ity to all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on a fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able ba­sis.

It said an out­right and in­def­i­nite dis­con­nec­tion would cause hard­ship to con­sumers and a col­lapse in other ser­vices and it would there­fore im­ple­ment a “reg­u­lated in­ter­rup­tion” in sup­ply.

In week one, this would in­volve the elec­tric­ity be­ing off from 6am to 9am, and from 5pm to 8.30pm. From week two, it would sim­ply stop sup­ply for 14 hours daily from 6am to 8pm.

DA coun­cil­lor Mlindi Nhanha ex­pressed the party’s dis­may at Eskom’s no­tice.

Nhanha pointed out that dur­ing act­ing mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Ted Pil­lay’s six-month stint in the first half of 2018, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had stuck to its pay­ment plan and re­duced its debt to Eskom to a man­age­able R36m.

“It would seem all that hard work has been wiped away and we are back to square one.”

Nhanha said it was ap­par­ent at a bud­get steer­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing Fri­day that ex­ec­u­tive mayor, Nomhle Gaga, had been kept en­tirely in the dark about Eskom’s de­ci­sion.

“Se­crecy and non-trans­parency are seem­ingly re­turn­ing to City Hall,” Nhanha said.

He called on her to act with ur­gency and then stick to an agreed upon pay­ment plan with the bulk elec­tric­ity sup­plier.

De­spite be­ing asked 24 hours in ad­vance for com­ment, Makana mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Moppo Mene had not re­sponded to ques­tions at the time of writ­ing. Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Yoliswa Ramokolo said on Thurs­day she would re­spond in due course.

In­ter­rup­tions – from the sec­ond week in De­cem­ber will last over 14 hours a day – to plunge es­sen­tial ser­vices into cri­sis

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