Talks to finally upgrade power network, ease water woes on the South Coast
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DURBAN - UGU District Municipality, land owners and Eskom are in discussions over an upgrade that would increase water supply at the Umtamvuna Water Treatment Works on the South Coast.
The municipality made a R14 million payment to Eskom two years ago for an upgrade, but the project did not kick off. The project has since been handed over to Eskom's Eastern Cape region.
Eskom spokesperson Zama Mpondwana said planned engagements and progress reports had been delayed largely by the level 4 Covid-19 lockdown. The recent unrest and looting in the province also set back the upgrades, he said, adding that the project should have started last month.
He said Eskom had made an offer to the land owners for consideration.
“Eskom discussed where the Eskom servitude would be situated and other matters with the directors of the Land Owners Association on July 21."
The directors have until Friday, August 6, to accept or decline the offer.
"Eskom has maintained open engagements with Ugu Municipality to keep the customer abreast of the project milestones, with the next session scheduled for tomorrow,” he said.
Ratepayers associations affected by Eskom’s delays were demanding that Ugu Municipality put more pressure on Eskom, so that the power utility would keep its part of the bargain.
DA councillor at Ray Nkonyeni Municipality Stephanie Breedt said they were unhappy with the response they received from the power utility.
“We have now been informed that the upgrades will only take place in six months. This means that we will now be lucky if the upgrades are done by December this year,” Breedt said.
Marius Santos of Trafalgar Ratepayers Association said the disruptions were an inconvenience.
“This has a serious impact on businesses in the area. Most people do not want to come and visit South Coast lodges, because there is no water,” Santos said.
He added that there were talks of withholding rate payments as a means to put pressure on Ugu Municipality and to also achieve political intervention, which would be necessary in getting Eskom to act as fast as possible.
Esmie Britz of the Port Edward Ratepayers’ Association said there was not enough water for everyone to get by. “The higher lying areas only get one hour of water in two weeks. Ugu really needs to put more pressure on Eskom,” Britz said.
Leon Kotze of the Munster Ratepayers’ Association blamed Eskom for not keeping their part of the bargain.
In previous interviews, Mpondwana had said that the upgrade of electricity supply to the Umtamvuna Water Treatment Works would bring relief to the coastal villages of Port Edward, Leisure Bay, Glenmore, Munster, Palm Beach, Trafalgar, Marina Beach and Southbroom, as well as a vast area inland of these villages in the Ingonyama Trust.
Earlier this year, Mpondwana had expressed the hope that by April 2021, progress would have been made in this regard.
“Our water systems are highly reliant on Eskom power supply to function effectively and the recent blackouts have increased the risk of constant disruption of water supply in most areas across the district,” Mpondwana said.