No end to EMLM power strug­gles

The Rep - - NEWS - ANDISA BONANI

The Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (EMLM) is ne­go­ti­at­ing its fourth pay­ment ar­range­ment this year to stop Eskom from go­ing through with its sched­uled plan of in­ter­rupt­ing power this month.

This was re­vealed dur­ing a com­mu­nity meet­ing con­vened by DA coun­cil­lor Chris de Wet on Mon­day, when a group of over

100 com­mu­nity mem­bers dis­cussed is­sues re­lat­ing to EMLM and the Chris Hani Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (CHDM) af­fect­ing lo­cals.

Top of the agenda were un­sched­uled wa­ter out­ages with sup­ply a func­tion of CHDM. Most areas in Ko­mani, in­clud­ing Ez­i­be­leni, Top Town, Mlungisi, the Vic­to­ria Park, New Vale and Alo­e­vale, Bergsig and West­bourne have re­ported lengthy out­ages.

An­other is­sue dis­cussed was elec­tric­ity prob­lems, in­clud­ing loom­ing power in­ter­rup­tions by Eskom set to start on No­vem­ber 20, and other in­fra­struc­ture is­sues fall­ing un­der EMLM.

De Wet, who chaired the meet­ing, said EMLM owed its cred­i­tors R223m, of which

R118m was owed to Eskom.

“The mayor Si­sisi To­lashe pre­sented this dur­ing the fi­nance com­mit­tee meet­ing of which I am part. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate its fourth pay­ment ar­range­ment with Eskom to make a R40m pay­ment to stop the in­ter­rup­tions from hap­pen­ing. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity cur­rently has R10m in its bank ac­count which will ob­vi­ously be used to pay salaries.”

He said he was anx­ious that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would get the R40m which they had of­fered Eskom from their eq­ui­table share fund which the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will re­ceive to­wards the end of this month.

“The grant of about R60m was with­held by the depart­ment of co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs (Cogta) and will be re­leased to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity by end of this month. I worry that they will use the money to pay Eskom which is il­le­gal.”

Com­mu­nity mem­ber Ben­nie Sahd sug­gested com­mu­nity mem­bers who shared the same frus­tra­tions needed to come to­gether and do some­thing. “If we are go­ing to think the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will change in the short-term then we are be­ing far from re­al­is­tic. We need to stand to­gether and come with ways to im­prove our town.”

Sahd sug­gested a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion be formed and peo­ple could then con­trib­ute money which could be used to fix any prob­lems that arose.

“The only so­lu­tion to this mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s prob­lems is cash. We could spread the word to reach more peo­ple so that con­tri­bu­tions may flow and we would have enough money to fix prob­lems.”

Com­mu­nity mem­ber Mike de Beer of­fered to do­nate a sum of R10,000 to­wards such an ac­count if it were to be opened.

Tokkie Dey­sel of the Queen­stown Civic and Ratepay­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion said he had ar­ranged a meet­ing with act­ing mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Dono­van van Wyk and ad­min­is­tra­tor Vuyo Mlokoti to dis­cuss ap­ply­ing for fund­ing from the Pres­i­den­tial Projects fund.

“I know about a mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the Free State which was in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion and they were as­sisted through the fund. A del­e­ga­tion that go and sit with Mlokoti and Van Wyk must be elected.”

Dey­sel said if an ap­pli­ca­tion to the fund was suc­cess­ful the money could be used to fix in­fras­truc­tural prob­lems in the area.

EMLM spokesman Fundile Feket­shane had not re­sponded to queries at time of writ­ing.

FEATHER LIGHT: Johnny Arse­niou took this photo of the fire­works at the Bonkolo Dam on Mon­day night

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