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Ladysmith battles to restore electricity after power station blaze left most of the town in darkness

The town of Ladysmith is facing a water and power crisis. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

The town of Ladysmith is facing a water and power crisis. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Published May 9, 2023


Ladysmith - The IFP-led Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal says it is working round the clock to repair a power station that caught mysterious fire on Sunday night, plunging the entire town and its industrial area into darkness.

The burning of the power station on Newcastle Road did not only result in a power failure, but it led to water pump stations collapsing, thus depriving the industrial town of water.

As a result, some school have since suspended lessons until the power and water have been fully restored.

The schools wrote to the provincial department of education and asked for permission to suspend lessons, saying without water, there was a health risk to learners and teachers.

Their wish was duly granted.

According to the municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal, suburbs affected by the fire are Acaciavale, Aloe Park, Rose Park, Leonardsville, Marula, Steadville, Tsakane, Sumitomo, Lasher and Transvaal Press Nuts and Bolts factory areas.

On Monday, the municipality’s Electrical Engineering Services was able to restore power to a few businesses in Lyell Street part of the town. That benefited places like the Provincial Hospital, Essen Hospital, Ladysmith Prison, Cannon Road, Lower Hospital Park, Klipbank Road and the Motels within the town.

On Tuesday, municipality mayor, Zama Sibisi, told IOL that technicians were still on the ground working hard to resolve the issue as the cause of the fire had not been identified.

Areas that were still affected are Egerton, Golf Course, Hospital Park, Van Riebeek Park, Observation Hill, Umkhamba Gardens, Limit Hill, Model Kloof, Danskraal Industrial areas, Bloukrans Road areas, part of the Central Town and Illing Road.

He said they were kindly requesting people to be calm as teams were on the ground working to restore power.

He stressed that they were giving priority to water treatment plants.

“We are trying all means to ensure that it doesn’t take long (to restore power and water services).

“With regard to the damage that occurred here, as you can see the house behind me, it cracked because of the pressure and because of the fire that was burning inside… transformer number 2 burst

“The damage is estimated at plus or minus R20 million,” Sibisi said when he spoke to IOL on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s not the first time the town has been plunged into darkness due to a mysterious fire in one of its power stations.

In February, most of its central business district was in darkness after a transformer near Murchison Street caught a mysterious fire.

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