Street lights burn in spite of short sup­ply

The Rep - - NEWS - ANDISA BONANI

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.”

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