R400m for Msun­duzi elec­tric­ity

The Mercury - - NEWS - Thami Magubane

THE Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity will spend more than R400 mil­lion over the next five years to re­store its crum­bling elec­tric­ity in­fra­struc­ture.

About R140m will be spent sta­bil­is­ing the in­fra­struc­ture dur­ing this fi­nan­cial year.

The city has fielded nu­mer­ous com­plaints about its un­sta­ble elec­tric­ity sup­ply in the past few years. Re­cently, there were se­vere power out­ages that left res­i­dents in the dark for days lead­ing to com­plaints filed with the Na­tional En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor of South Africa (Nersa).

In a re­port tabled be­fore the exco mem­bers yes­ter­day, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­vealed it will cost close to R730m to fully re­store its in­fra­struc­ture.

The re­port stated in the 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will spend around R150m, it will spend R200m in the 2019/20 fi­nan­cial year and R53m the fol­low­ing year.

Bren­den Siv­parsad, act­ing head at the elec­tric­ity depart­ment, said the city adopted a de­vel­op­ment plan to ad­dress age­ing elec­tric­ity in­fra­struc­ture. He said while they had done some work in sta­bil­is­ing the elec­tric­ity grid, by in­vest­ing in some sub­sta­tions, there were still ar­eas that were “volatile”.


The re­ports of the up­grades said the pri­or­ity projects they would be im­ple­ment­ing in­cluded the up­grade of the Pine Street Sub­sta­tion, which sup­plies the city’s CBD.

They would also be look­ing to up­grade the Cross­ways sub­sta­tion, which sup­plies the Sweet­wa­ters and Hil­ton ar­eas that were hard hit by the elec­tric­ity out­ages.

Siv­parsad said the work on these sta­tions could be­gin around June.

“The coun­cil has ap­proved the fund­ing. We will soon be plac­ing the or­ders for trans­form­ers and other ma­te­rial – these are cus­tom made for a par­tic­u­lar area.”

Sivper­sad said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was busy re­cruit­ing to fill va­can­cies in the depart­ment.

“We have a high va­cancy rate but we are busy fill­ing that. We should have peo­ple start­ing in a few months – these va­can­cies are mostly at mid­dle man­age­ment and some ar­ti­sans.

“But in the mean­time we have a ded­i­cated team and con­trac­tors who as­sist us when the need arises,” he said.

DA Exco mem­ber, Jerome Ma­jola said although this should have been done a long time ago, it was bet­ter late than never.

“Re­cently we had a power out­age from Sun­day to Tues­day, but the sit­u­a­tion has sta­bilised a bit and is show­ing they have done some­thing to fix some of the prob­lems.”

He said the elec­tric­ity prob­lems were dam­ag­ing the city as a des­ti­na­tion for in­vest­ment.

“If busi­nesses peo­ple know there are elec­tric­ity prob­lems, they will not in­vest here.”

The Pietermaritzburg busi­ness cham­ber high­lighted the elec­tric­ity prob­lems as a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to busi­nesses.

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