Durban — City of uMhlathuze mayor Xolani Ngwezi has said residents of Esikhaleni and eNseleni are angry about load shedding hours, which they say last for up to four hours.
He said: “We are aware the Eskom load shedding programme makes the affected communities suffer more than residents residing in areas where load shedding is done by the city.
“In previous years, uMhlathuze and Eskom entered into an agreement that scheduled load shedding must be done by Eskom, yet the infrastructure in those areas is owned and maintained by the municipality.”
Ngwezi said the areas included Esikhaleni, eNseleni, Felixton and Ngwelezane, which were under Eskom’s load shedding schedule.
He added these communities complained that when the power cuts took place, their schedules lasted up to four hours, which was more than the two hours in those areas under the municipality’s load-shedding schedules. They accused Eskom of being unable to keep to the minimum time.
“This matter came to our attention in late November to December, which prompted us to take a decision to write to Eskom, suggesting to them that we would like to load shed these areas just like we do in Richards Bay, Vulindlela outside the University of Zululand, and many other areas.
“What Eskom is doing is an injustice to our people and we can’t continue having that situation.”
Ngwezi further said this issue arose with the previous administration, but they were fixing the situation as a coalition government now leading the City of uMhlathuze.
“We can’t account for that, but all we can do is fix the situation. We would like to assure our people that we are not folding our arms, but are taking this matter seriously. It can’t be finalised overnight.”
Ngwezi urged the affected communities to remain calm.
“We have taken steps to bring this function back to the city so that these areas where load shedding currently takes longer demonstrate less care for the well-being of some citizens. Our fight is to ensure the adversely affected areas are treated equally with areas where load shedding is done by the City.”
In the interim the City had tried to urge Eskom to reduce the hours of load shedding in Esikhawini, Nseleni and other affected areas until the negotiations for the City to take over were concluded. He added talks were under way and the IFP-led administration did not and would not discriminate when it provided basic services such as water, waste removal and electricity.
“We inherited a lot of problems, some of which although we apply ourselves fully to resolve, are taking longer to correct. We will continue fighting for Esikhaleni, eNseleni and all areas affected by unkind decisions that do not put the interest of the people first, taken in the past.”
Eskom’s general manager Agnes Mlambo said Eskom has entered into negotiations with the City of Umhlathuze to determine how the handover of the load shedding schedules back to the City would be under
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