State-owned power utility, Eskom has allegedly granted the Ulundi Local Municipality some reprieve as it has emerged that it plans to suspend load-shedding in the KZN town on Saturday.
It is understood that this decision is to allow for the late Inkatha Freedom Party founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s funeral to take place without any glitches.
By Thursday evening and two days before the funeral service, the country was plunged into complete darkness after Eskom implemented Stage 6 load-shedding, with some parts of the country going for up to five consecutive hours without power.
JUST IN: Eskom will suspend load-shedding in Ulundi and Nkonjeni to allow the funeral of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi to go smoothly. Nkonjeni, some 15 kilometres from Ulundi, is where the home of Buthelezi is located. The exemption starts today and will run until Saturday. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 14, 2023
The mooted temporary reprieve in Ulundi was confirmed by the Municipality’s municipal manager, Sandile Khomo on Thursday.
According to Khomo, they wrote a letter to Eskom asking that Ulundi be exempted for Buthelezi’s send off.
“I can confirm that we asked Eskom to suspend load-shedding since we have the big task of burying the Inkosi (Chief), the Prince of KwaPhindangene.
“They then granted us our request and they will exempt the areas around (Ulundi) town so that there are no disturbances and in Nkonjeni so that everything back home KwaPhindangene goes smoothly,” Khomo told IOL.
He added that the exemption would kick off on Thursday, September 14 and run until Saturday, September 16.
In Nkonjeni the exemption would start on Friday and run until Saturday.
But in a letter seen by IOL, Eskom said should the grid be under pressure, they would suspend the exemption for Ulundi and Nkonjeni.
In March 2021, Eskom had to burn diesel to keep the lights on so that mourners could follow the funeral of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka Bhekuzulu from Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Buthelezi’s state funeral will be held at Prince Mangosuthu regional stadium in Ulundi on September 16.
The eulogy is expected to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Thereafter, the programme would be handed over to regiments of the Buthelezi clan to bury him according to their cultural rites.