File picture: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Pietermaritzburg - Organised business has expressed concerns over the continued interruption of power supply following another bout of power outages in Pietermaritzburg this week. 

On Monday, suburbs such as Hilton and Northdale experienced outages for the entire evening, while residents of Sweetwaters Township also had a similar experience. 

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) CEO, Melanie Veness, said the outages were impacting badly on business operations. “The PCB is extremely concerned about the on-going power challenges that are negatively impacting the business environment. The economic situation is difficult enough without the added burden of power outages that affect business productivity and that have resulted in damage to sensitive equipment. The costs to business are significant and mounting continuously,” said Veness. 

She added that while the PCB was engaging with municipal officials on the problem, they had been disappointed with senior leadership at the municipality. “Calls to the mayor and executive managers have unfortunately gone unanswered,” said the CEO, who pointed out that the chamber had attempted to keep members updated via the new PCB App. 

The PCB Management Board is set to meet soon and will advise on a strategy to address the matter.  

Meanwhile, residents have spoken of the difficulty they have to deal with on an almost daily basis since Pietermaritzburg started experiencing problems with its power supply. “ When we got home  at about 6pm, it took about two hours and then the power was gone, we had to make fire in order to have hot water,” said one Sweetwaters resident.

Msunduzi municipality spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, confirmed that the city experienced outages on Monday evening. “There was a fault in the area which had to be located. It was identified at midnight. The area had to be isolated in order to restore power,” said Mafumbatha.  She pleaded for patience from residents in the affected areas, saying the municipality was working hard at ensuring that everything was back to normal.