Durban — eThekwini Municipality DA caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa says his party rejects eThekwini’s extended load shedding.
This is after the municipality announced that it will revert to normal load shedding stages as experienced by the rest of the country on May 25.
In a statement, Mthethwa said the lack of planning and foresight from the ANC in KZN and the eThekwini Municipality was “outrageous”.
He said countless questions had been posed by the DA in eThekwini over the planning and repairs to the electrical infrastructure that was compromised during the floods in April 2022.
“Complacency from mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and his city manager Musa Mbhele has put the city and province in a predicament where critical infrastructure is likely to deteriorate even further to unprecedented levels, putting businesses and the economy at greater risk,” Mthethwa said.
“The ANC and metro were fully aware that Eskom would reach such a decision and did nothing to prepare residents for what was coming.”
Mthethwa said residents had been facing extended blackouts lasting days due to the network being compromised. As such, a number of businesses had shut down, many of them small businesses that have been left in the dark.
“eThekwini is not ready for the full implementation of load shedding and the consequences will be felt across the country,” Mthethwa said.
He recalled an executive council meeting in January where electricity head Maxwell Mthembu confirmed that his department needed R200 million for repairs to ensure that the electricity grid functioned optimally. However, the municipality chose to fund the Expanded Public Works Programme with over R200m when it is a nationally mandated project, despite the DA advocating for the funds to be allocated towards electricity infrastructure.
“The blame must be solely put on the provincial government which has been dormant amid the chaos and collapse of the City. The national government and CoGTA (Department of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs) have been complicit far too long with the only action taken being instituting Section 154 as opposed to placing the municipality under full administration,” Mthethwa said.
He said the DA would investigate further action that may be taken and escalate the matter to provincial and national structures over the collapse of critical infrastructure and chaos.
Earlier the municipality said following discussions with Eskom, the City’s load shedding schedule was being revised, and a new schedule would be effective from May 25.
Communications head Lindiwe Khuzwayo said eThekwini had been on a reduced level of load shedding since April 2022 owing to the negative impact of the floods on the City’s electrical network.
She said while the City’s infrastructure was not yet repaired to pre-flood levels, the City acknowledged the country’s need to reduce the load to protect the national grid. It had therefore become unavoidable for eThekwini to revert to normal load shedding stages as experienced by the rest of the country.
Khuzwayo said some areas continued to battle with the damage from the floods and as a result, there were certain sub-stations that could not be switched off as that would pose a significant risk to residents and infrastructure.
“The City is finalising the amended load shedding schedule and this will be shared with the public as soon as it is ready,” Khuzwayo said.
Khuzwayo said suburban block allocations had been amended to accommodate the required changes.
She urged customers to check their suburbs against their new block numbers when the schedule was published.
Khuzwayo also said areas with a large industrial component had been allocated to Blocks 17 to 20 and would be shut off from Stage 7 upwards for a duration of four hours at a time. This is expected to limit the impact of load shedding on production.
She also urged customers to minimise their electricity usage and switch off high-load appliances during power outages to prevent high waiting loads when the power does return. This will prevent extended outages.
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