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Rural Jozini local municipality counts the cost of load shedding as Eskom continues to falter

Jozini mayor Mfananaye Mathe says they are losing lives due to load shedding. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Jozini mayor Mfananaye Mathe says they are losing lives due to load shedding. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Published Jun 1, 2023


Jozini - As Eskom continues to falter and load shedding continues to bite, the rural Jozini municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal is counting the cost.

The IFP-led municipality is one of those heavily affected ones as their power cuts sometimes last for up to six hours and even a day.

On Wednesday, the municipality’s mayor, Mfananaye Mathe, revealed that they recently lost a life due to the power cuts imposed by Eskom to prevent the total collapse of the grid.

Mathe said recently a house caught fire and a resident died when power was restored after a long cut.

“We have found ourselves burying our people because of this ongoing load shedding.

“Just on the other side where we started with a house handover before coming here, there was a funeral of a resident who recently died when a house caught fire when power was restored after load shedding.

“I must say this, load shedding is a deliberate act that is benefiting some few people who live among us,” Mathe said.

He also revealed that as a result of load shedding, crime in the municipality bordering Eswatini and Mozambique is increasing.

“When load shedding kicks in, you pray that it will end with you still safe and alive from criminals.

“Criminals are now taking advantage of this and waiting for load shedding to kick in and start their dirty deeds.

“We have seen a spike in crime incidents as a result of this (load shedding),” he revealed.

Mathe was speaking at Ezibukweni area where his municipality was handing over funding to cooperatives for economic development purposes.

Mathe said they opted for funding agricultural initiatives because their local economy is reliant on agriculture.

He used the event to dispute claims that the municipality’s R382 million budget for the 2023/2024 period has not been passed.

The claim was allegedly made by ANC councillors after staging a walkout during the presentation on Tuesday.

All municipalities are expected to pass their budget by July 1 and failing which, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs could dissolve or place them under administration as it happened with the Umkhanyakude District Municipality.

“Yesterday we met to pass the budget that will kick in on the 1st of July, they walked out and later claimed that the budget was not passed, well it was passed,” Mathe said.

The ANC in the Nokuhamba Nyawo region (Umkhanyakude district) has not yet responded to Mathe’s claims when this report was compiled.

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