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uMngeni Municipality complains about infrastructure damage as a result of load shedding

The municipality in Howick says it is also spending a fortune on running generators to keep services in operation during blackouts

File Picture: Mayor of uMngeni Municipality Chris Pappas. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 5, 2022

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Durban - UMngeni Municipality is spending a fortune to replace its infrastructure that has been damaged by load shedding.

In a public letter to Eskom, uMngeni mayor Chris Pappas said: “Eskom has one job and that is to ensure the reliable provision of electricity to its customers.”

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uMngeni is the latest to complain about the impact of Eskom’s load shedding on its residents.

“I am writing on behalf of the residents and businesses that form part of the uMngeni Municipal jurisdiction with regard to the ongoing rotational blackouts. uMngeni Local Municipality is a loyal customer of Eskom.”

Pappas said activities that are vital for survival and development for many are being affected.

“This includes hospitals, schools, telecommunications, etc.

“In addition to the burden being placed on businesses and residents I would also like to raise the huge costs being incurred by our municipality in replacing infrastructure that is damaged because of the blackouts as well as the costs associated with labour, contractors and spares.

“It is also worth mentioning the incredible costs that we incur due to running generators to keep service delivery going. As it stands local government carries the burden of being at the coal face of the developmental state.

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“However, the added cost burden of blackouts will slow the delivery of basic services and interventions to reduce poverty and inequality.”

The actual figure of the spending was not immediately available on Tuesday.

Pappas added: “Our electricity accounts are paid up in full and are up to date. However, despite this, Eskom has not proved as loyal and considerate a service provider.

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“The public utility has failed at its core mandate leaving residents and businesses quite literally in the dark. What is more frustrating is that Eskom has for many years enjoyed a legislated monopoly over power production: and in many ways still enjoys such a monopoly.

“The rotational blackouts are having a devastating effect on our local economy during a time when it can scarcely afford to shed any more jobs and poverty is the deepest that it has ever been,” he said.

Eskom had not responded to a request for comment.

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