Power cri­sis draws near

The Rep - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

The count­down to the fes­tive sea­son has started. It may, how­ever, be less than jolly for thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing in the Enoch Mgi­jima mu­nic­i­pal area should threat­ened power cuts by Eskom be re­alised.

It is be­lieved that the cur­rent debt to Eskom stands at about R123m, an amount which will be dif­fi­cult if not near im­pos­si­ble to find in chal­leng­ing eco­nomic times in SA.

The same sit­u­a­tion cropped up ear­lier in 2018 and plans to make reg­u­lar pay­ments to Eskom were an­nounced. It seems, how­ever, that the debt con­tin­ues to ac­cu­mu­late and Eskom is draw­ing a line in the sand.

The fact that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is one of sev­eral in the same sit­u­a­tion, will do lit­tle to al­le­vi­ate the grow­ing anx­i­ety. Fresh from a sit­u­a­tion where a blown trans­former left a num­ber of res­i­den­tial ar­eas and sec­tions of the Ko­mani CBD with­out power, res­i­dents now face the in­creas­ingly real risk that Eskom will be plung­ing the town into dark­ness within the next three weeks. Peo­ple’s liveli­hoods are at risk with a sta­ble elec­tric­ity sup­ply im­per­a­tive right now, not even for de­vel­op­ment, but for sur­vival.

The Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces will be in town on Fri­day to dis­cuss the work of the new ad­min­is­tra­tor, Vuyo Mlokothi, in turn­ing around the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s for­tunes.

Mlokothi will con­tinue his work in the ab­sence of sus­pended mu­nic­i­pal man­ager (MM) Chris Mag­wangqana and with the as­sis­tance of act­ing MM Dono­van van Wyk, who has served the lo­cal author­ity for decades.

Their ef­fort, com­bined with provin­cial and coun­cil sup­port, is what the com­mu­nity of the area will rely upon to avert what is sure to be a dis­as­ter for the area.

Time is not our friend, and while the clock ticks down to Novem­ber, all eyes will be on them. An un­en­vi­able sit­u­a­tion, in­deed.

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