James Masango MPL
DA Mpumalanga Chief Whip
The MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Mr Madala Masuku, must take drastic action against officials in the Nkomazi municipality, who through their negligence, have caused electricity supply to be cut to almost 400 homes.
The saga unfolded after a giraffe was shocked to death by a transformer and residents’ appeal to Eskom to increase the height of power lines and transformers. Eskom acted on the request in late March, and subsequently increased the height of the above. It was during this exercise that Eskom found many connections which did not appear on its registry, prompting it to conduct a full audit of all connections in Marloth park.
After the audit’s completion on April 17, the Nkomazi municipality was informed of the 400 “illegal” connections, and that these had to be registered with Eskom and connection fees paid. By Monday, May 7, Nkomazi had still not responded to Eskom’s demands, prompting it to immediately sever the connections.
It is absolutely unacceptable that consumers, who have paid for their services, have to suffer unnecessary inconvenience, and probably financial losses due to the incompetence of municipal officials. Furthermore, information in the DA’s possession shows that the Nkomazi municipality has not just failed to register these connections with Eskom, but has also failed to pay Eskom’s share for over three years. To make matters worse, this erratic payment problem has been going on since 2003.
The DA has subsequently learnt that the municipality has engaged with Eskom and that electricity has been restored to most homes, with about 150 still cut off as of this morning. While we appreciate everyone’s efforts to resolve the situation, the fact remains that the entire debacle could have been avoided had officials done their work in the first place.
To this end we will exercise our parliamentary oversight and submit formal written questions to MEC Masuku, and ask him to explain why Nkomazi did not register 400 connections in Marloth Park with Eskom, why the consumers’ payments were not paid over to Eskom, and why the municipality did not act when it was given fair warning of the impending cuts.
The DA will also ask MEC Masuku to explain what actions were taken to resolve the issue and reverse the cuts, what it cost the municipality, and what, if any, disciplinary actions were taken against officials found to be negligent in the carrying out of their duties.