Durban - Despite the fact that the country is facing a crippling electricity crunch that has resulted in Eskom implementing rolling blackouts for years, one municipality in KwaZulu-Natal is adding more households to the power grid.
On Wednesday, the Jozini local municipality, along the South Africa-eSwatini border in northern KwaZulu-Natal, launched a multi-million rural electrification project in one of its growing wards.
The project would see newly built homes along the Jozini - Bhambanana - Mhlabuyalinga Road added to the power grid.
The mayor of the municipality, Mfananaye Mathe and some of his executives launched the project with much fanfare, saying the current woes by Eskom cannot be used to deter them from lighting up more households where possible.
Mathe said they are hopeful that the current load shedding by Eskom would one day be a thing of the past.
“The argument that because we have load shedding and we should not be installing electricity for the people is like saying because car crashes often, we must stop buying them.
“We will continue to install electricity for our people hoping that one day load shedding will be a thing of the past.
“When the day of the end of load shedding comes, it must find us ready with the needed infrastructure,” he said.
Meanwhile, the same municipality is forging ahead with its R22 million municipal office park in the centre of the town of Jozini.
Mathe said the office park had been made necessary by the growth the municipality has experienced ever since it was started over two decades ago.
He said when they started, they had 16 wards, and they have now grown to have 23 wards, and that has made their chamber and working offices too small.
As a result, when they had to have a full council meeting where 45 councillors (including PR councillors) had to meet, they had to go to outside venues - something which was costly and time-consuming.
The building of the office park will kick off in January of next year, and the appointed contractor has to hand in the key to the municipality in September 2024.
“In January next year, this project will start. This is going to be a huge project of an office park that is going to be a double storey building.
“It’s going to be an 18 months project, meaning that by September 2024, the project should be done and hand-over the offices to us to use,” Mathe said to IOL.