ESKOM set to disconnect FS municipalities while Speaker Qabathe dallies on debate of public importance

By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

ESKOM is set to proceed with its plan of punitive blackouts in the Ngwathe and Maluti-a-Phofung local municipalities.

The DA  maintains that ESKOM’s scheduled punitive blackouts of eight hours during weekdays and six hours on weekends is unacceptable and unethical.

On the 29th of April 2015, I formally wrote to the Speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature, Mamiki Qabathe, requesting her to schedule an urgent debate of public importance for the next sitting so that we can debate the collective ESKOM municipal debt in the province of almost R1,7 billion and the consequences that this debt has on the lives of our people. During a sitting on the 21 May 2015, the DA raised this matter in the legislature, to which Speaker Qabathe responded by obfuscating on matter.

It would appear that Speaker Qabathe has no interest to consider our request and that in itself is a clear indication that she doesn’t care about the adverse impact ESKOM’s punitive blackouts would have on the quality of life of our people and the already stunted economic outlook of the Free State.

I will again write to Speaker Qabathe to remind her of our urgent request.

Meanwhile, like Speaker Qabathe, COGTA MEC Olly Mlamleli also couldn’t care less about this impending crisis. We have repeatedly called on her to intervene in dysfunctional municipalities to no avail, she disregards our constructive engagement with the same contempt that she disregards the plight of the poor.

The ANC has little regard for the problems facing the Free State. It is time that residents of the Free State take back the power of their votes and use it wisely in next year’s elections. The time for change has come.

Where the DA governs we do not get threats from ESKOM that it would implement punitive blackouts because we pay our accounts on time and National Treasury doesn’t withhold our municipalities’ equitable share because a DA government manages public finances appropriately.