Durban — The eThekwini Municipality’s head of electricity, Maxwell Mthembu, has called for calm among residents of eThekwini regarding the new load shedding schedule to be implemented from today (Thursday).
At a media briefing held at the city power headquarters on Wednesday, Mthembu said: “In order to protect municipal revenue, major businesses around eThekwini will not be load shed at all.”
Appealing to eThekwini residents, Mthembu promised that residential areas would remain on load shedding for two hours per day, unless a higher stage of load shedding, such as stage 7 or above, were to be implemented.
Commercial businesses will be shed the same as residential areas, as they form the same block one of the new load shedding schedule.
“Industries will be load shed for up to four hours on each schedule, and will likely be load shed alternatively. This will help them to plan their production times properly, as they will know that on such and such times, we will experience load shedding,” Mthembu said.
“Our design for load shedding is far better than that of other municipalities. Therefore we urge the people of eThekwini not to panic about these new power cut schedules because as their municipality we are doing our best to provide them with much-needed electricity,” Mthembu said.
The new load shedding schedules will be split up into two blocks:
- The residential and commercial zone, which will be load shed for two hours at a time.
- The industrial zone, which will be load shed for four hours at a time.
DA caucus leader councillor Thabani Mthethwa said his party hoped that the City was not giving residents false hope.
“We hope that Mthembu is not only paying lip service. We do not believe what he says is possible. We want him to promise that he will be accountable if other changes happen, contrary to his promises,” Mthethwa said.
ActionSA provincial chairperson Zwakele Mncwango said eThekwini residents must not be forced to suffer through the load shedding crisis.
“We will only listen when the national government comes to tell us that there is no load shedding any more.
“The people of eThekwini, especially those who live in the north, continue to suffer water shortages because of load shedding. People are not expected to suffer from electricity shortages. The government must put its house in order, and provide power to the people, as per their constitutional right,” Mncwango said.
IFP eThekwini caucus leader Mdu Nkosi said the main challenge was that some eThekwini residents had no water because of the power cuts, and suffered damage to their appliances due to constant power outages, and their food was going rotten.
“If Mthembu is going to keep to his word, it is all well and good. But the problem will be those residents who fall under Eskom’s power supply. These residents need to have their fears addressed as well, so that they are assured that the municipality cares about them. The biggest challenge for Mthembu is, has he spoken to Eskom about the plight of these residents?” Nkosi asked.
ANC eThekwini regional spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said load shedding was caused by Eskom, not the city.
“We understand that Eskom wants load shedding to be implemented equally throughout the country.
“Therefore we encourage our municipality to try to find alternative sources of energy. We are mainly worried about the industries, so the city must move fast on its plans to find alternative energy sources.
“We also encourage the municipality to take over those areas that are still under the Eskom supply, so that those residents also benefit,” Mkhize said.
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