Thaba Chweu electricity crisis: MEC must act

Sonja Boshoff MP

DA Mpumalanga

Cooperative governance MEC Refilwe Mtshweni must take decisive action in the affairs of the Thaba Chweu local municipality, and normalise service delivery.

As temperatures plummeted during the sudden cold snap this past week, the municipality was brought to its knees through dysfunctional infrastructure causing unplanned and unnecessary power outages.

The hydro-electric power plant just outside Lydenburg was switched of this week because the service provider is owed millions, and despite promises made to the contrary, has not been paid.

The Rooidraai sub station has not been fully operational since it was struck by lightning months ago, although the insurance claim had been settled and paid out to the municipality soon thereafter.

Since the appointment of a task team in November 2013 to oversee Thaba Chweu’s administration, very little has changed in the embattled municipality. A number of municipal managers have come and gone, yet not one has been able to implement and carry out a real plan to address the situation.

The fact is that Thaba Chweu cannot continue like this, as more residents and businesses will carry the brunt of power outages and other infrastructure failures as the municipality battles its financial woes.

To this end, the DA will write to MEC Mtshweni, to provide the necessary financial and technical assistance to settle outstanding debts, repair and maintain infrastructure, and return service delivery to an even keel.

Failing that, the MEC has no other choice but to dissolve council under the auspices of Section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution, and declare a municipal election.