Johannesburg - Two medical centres, two education department regional offices and a Nature Reserve are among 29 Gauteng Government departments which experience a total shutdown of power during load shedding, because they have no back-up generators.
These shocking details were revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development, Lebogang Maile in his written questions by the DA’s Patrick Atkinson in the Gauteng provincial legislature.
Atkinson, DA’s spokesperson for finance, asked Maile to give details around the Gauteng provincial government’s ability to function optimally during load shedding.
He also asked which government departments do in fact have back-up generators and those that don’t.
In his reply, Maile gave a list of 39 critical government departments which had no back-up generators including the Gauteng District Health Services - Wits Central Region; Hospital Board of Johannesburg; Gauteng Education District Office and the Gauteng Department of Education - Central Region.
Other critical centres with no back-up power during load shedding included the Biodiversity-Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve; Biodiversity-Marievale; Biodiversity-Alice Clockner; Biodiversity-Roodeplaat, Biodiversity-Youth Centre; Biodiversity-Abe Bailey and Biodiversity-Leeuwfontein.
Two other government buildings are situated in Pretoria Central - President Towers in 265 Pretorius Street and Corner Pretorius and Lillian Ngoyi.
Other buildings comprise regional offices outside Johannesburg and Pretoria such as in Benoni, Randfontein, Krugersdorp, Hammanskraal, Heidelberg, Springs and Ormonde, south of Johannesburg.
To make matters worse, Maile revealed that no government buildings have been installed with solar panels as the project was still at a planning stage.
“All Gauteng Provincial Government buildings are not fitted with solar energy sources,” he said.
Reacting to the revelations, Atkinson said Gauteng residents in need of government services were battling to access these services during load shedding, because 29 government departments were unable to operate at all.
Atkinson said load shedding had now become the norm, and it was concerning that no progress has been made with installing solar panels at all provincial government buildings.
“Government departments must still be able to operate as expected, even during load shedding, so that residents can receive essential services,” he said.
Atkinson said the DA would be closely monitoring the roll-out of the installation of solar panels through the mechanisms in place at the Legislature.
“Our residents cannot continue to struggle to access critical government services during load shedding. Where we govern in the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town has already put out a tender to procure 500MW of energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).”
Maile added that government had allocated about R10 million in this current financial year to ensure that departments were equipped with back-up power.
“The departments with standby power will be prioritised as part of the first phase before the end of the 2023/2024 financial year,” he said.