Extended power, water cuts raise ire of residents

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EXTENDED water outages and frequent cuts in the power supply are raising the concern of locals.
The Rep has, since last year, fielded calls from residents querying the water situation and the stability of the power supply in the Komani area. The area is currently being plagued by a drought with water restrictions applicable since last year.
One resident, Cliff Pringle, said the issue of water provisioning to Ezibeleni, Parkvale, Victoria Park, Aloevale, Newvale, Popcorn Valley and Sabata had been raised with the municipality as such areas seemed to be having more water cuts than others.
Further concerns were that cuts were experienced during the day, instead of from 8pm to 4.30am, the period indicated as being the scheduled time for the cuts.
“During December we had a couple of incidents where the water was cut off for up to three days,” with indications being that the electricity supply was the main cause of the problem.
During January a similar situation arose, with Pringle querying the true source of the problem. “We are sitting on a time bomb with all this mess – I call it incompetence – because soon residents will vent their anger and frustrations in other ways.
“Is it not true that the municipality recently replaced pumps and cables to prevent this from happening? If so, why is it that we are the only town affected by this? Is it poor workmanship or just arrogance with a ‘could not care less’ attitude? “
Citizens were entitled to the supply of basic services like water and electricity as per the constitution.
He has since directed a letter to the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa about the electricity problems.
In Ezibeleni, outages last year resulted in a call by residents for the Enoch Mgijima Municipality and Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) to take action.The Rep reported (“Repair Ezibeleni” September 16, 2016) that locals had complained that power and water cuts were affecting the economy.
Resident Gabula Zingitwa said at the time such cuts were problematic and often lasted for days, with businessman Lindiwe Nojekwa saying business was being affected by service delivery problems.
Top Town and Blue Rise residential areas were left without water and power for more than 12 hours last Wednesday and woke up this Wednesday morning to find that the lights were off again. Electricians worked on a cable fault in Ebden Street – the same area which had been the origin of the earlier disruption – with the power restored 24 hours later.
Several residents have also taken to facebook to vent their frustration.
The Rep sent a list of questions to CHDM and the Enoch Mgijima municipality. CHDM spokesman Thobeka Mqamelo said the district authority was acquiring emergency power generators for pump stations around Komani to ensure that a power outage was not coupled with a disruption in the water supply. A service provider to supply and install the generators had been commissioned.
The drought crisis continued and while underground water sources had shown an improvement, there was slight to no improvement in dam levels in Komani and nearby Dordrecht where two boreholes were due to be completed by mid-February.
Responding to claims that water was only being cut in some areas, she said water could not be cut to hospitals and the CBD.
“Households that are linked to the same lines can thus not be cut although 90% of Komani water is cut during stipulated times. Equally, residents in low-lying areas do not experience a total cut-off as water that is already in the pipe lines remains available to them though in lesser volume. We do understand that this creates a wrong impression that certain areas are more privileged than others.”
Mqamelo said residents were being urged to use water wisely. “Our customer care line 080-010-0100 is open for calls on enquiries or complaints.”
Enoch Mgijima Municipality spokesman Fundile Feketshane said the municipality was facing serious challenges as had been communicated. “We are trying all we can to ensure we install new cables, new high mast lights, responding to street lights [problems] and so on.“ Feketshane said storms in the area had also had an impact, with electricians working “around the clock” to fix faults. Councillors were reporting to communities about developments while notices were being sent out to raise awareness.
“We call upon everyone to keep reporting these faults so that they are attended [to] as they arise.”

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