Street lights burn in spite of short supply
Residents in Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) have raised concern over street lights that are kept on day and night in a municipality that has been struggling to pay its Eskom debt.
Street lights in sections of Mlungisi, Kingsway, Queens Drive, Prince Alfred Street and Madeira Park have been on for weeks and in some areas for months.
A Whittlesea resident, Mwezi Xabanisa, said there were Christmas lights that had been on for months and no one in the municipality seemed bothered by this.
The local authority has also been struggling to collect electricity revenue from residents and businesses, thus resulting in it defaulting to pay its Eskom debt.
Madeira Park resident Makukhanye Nkohla said the municipality regularly blamed residents for not paying their electricity bills, but lights were on 24 hours a day in some parts of the area.
“Who are they going to bill that to? You cannot have a municipality with a botched revenue collection system and yet be the ones that waste power. They are supposed to lead the residents by example.
“This is one of the reasons Eskom on a national basis is forced to employ outages. Electricity is wasted by both residents and government and the latter always blames the people when there are problems.”
EMLM manager in the office of the mayor Butsha Lali said the municipality was not aware about the Christmas lights that were on during the day in Whittlesea and would follow up on the matter.
“The switching on of Christmas lights is the norm during the festive season, but they should only be on in the evening. This is the first time this has been brought to our attention and we will find out what the problem is.”
Lali said the issue of street lights burning in Komani and any other area under the local authority’s jurisdiction was due to a malfunction in the “switching system”.
“This is a grave concern to us, but we have started looking into the matter. We are in the process of fixing this issue and we have already done an order, but due to the ongoing strike nothing can really be done yet.
“After the strike, hopefully that will be next week, we will have an update on when things will be restored so that lights function normally and do not cost the municipality.”