Residents of Enkululekweni who are fed up with ongoing electricity problems have given the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality an ultimatum: attend to our grievances by Saturday or we will camp outside the municipal offices.
This after slow progress made by the municipality in an electrification project earmarked for the Pola Park area.
A dispute recently ensued after Pola Park residents reportedly connected electricity illegally from households in Enkululekweni. The illegal connection left residents in both areas (Enkululekweni and Pola Park) at loggerheads. “We have always had a challenge when it came to electricity supply. The Polar Park and Newzone areas have never had access to electricity so they made connections which led to intermittent power outages as a result of the overload.”
Community leader Elias Magwayi said a resolution to the dispute was reached and a decision was taken by community members to disconnect the illegal connections last week. “We also came to realise that people from Pola Park were desperately in need of electricity and that the decision we took, to disconnect them, was not a solution. We recently held a meeting to further discuss a way forward. We came to a conclusion to visit the municipal offices to demand answers on the electrification project in Pola Park. When the national legislature held public participation sessions in 2018 a project to install electricity was implemented hurriedly in Pola Park, electricity boxes were installed but electricity is still not available,” he said.
The community members delegated 10 individuals to the technical services office on Monday to demand answers. “We met with a female municipal employee who was aware of this electricity project. We stated our grievances and as communicated with other residents, we indicated that we give the municipality until September 25 for electricity to be installed in the Pola Park area. If that date comes and passes without any movement then residents will be left with no choice but to take action,” added Magwayi.
In his response, Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said the electrification project was 95% complete adding that the municipality had experienced some delays in finalising the project. “The current problems will soon be a thing of the past. The project stalled due to shortage of material and municipal officials are currently working hard to sort out the challenge of material and other issues to ensure that Polar Park is energised in the quickest possible time,” said Kowa.