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Premier outline plans to reconnect communities in the dark

Illegal electricity connections. Picture: BONILE BAM

Illegal electricity connections. Picture: BONILE BAM

Published Aug 21, 2023


Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi says load shedding will end next year.

Lesufi also said the government was committed to getting areas such as Dobsonville, Slovoville, Diepkloof in Soweto that do not have electricity connected by January 2024.

“We have committed ourselves that by the 1 of January 2024 these communities will be connected. We will do everything within our powers to replace the transformers, we will do everything in our powers that the substations that blew are replaced and we will do everything in our power that cables that were stolen are replaced come January,” level said Lesufi.

“We also commit that the power stations that are non-functional or they were closed in our province… we have two in Johannesburg, we have one in Ekurhuleni and another one in Tshwane. We are moving in speed to make sure that they come and join the main grid and they are repaired by end of January next year,” said Lesufi

He said non-payment of Eskom by municipalities was not confined to Gauteng, and that municipalities were negotiating with Eskom about dealing with their debt.

Lesufi said municipalities were given until May this year to submit their proposals to Eskom.

“All our municipalities in Gauteng have submitted their proposals, only three received responses and we are waiting for other municipalities to receive theirs. Municipalities like Emfoleni which owe Eskom R7 billion, Eskom has agreed with the proposal they put on the table… if they can adhere to the proposal and their debt will be dealt with,” said Lesufi.

On Sunday Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa raised the issue of municipal debt owed to Eskom. As at the end of last year the power utility was owed over R60bn.

Lesufi said last week the Gauteng government hosted an energy summit that involved community organisations, municipalities, councillors, and business people, just to determine how best they can deal with tackling electricity challenges.

“There are communities that are without electricity. According to a report we received there are about 1 200 transformers that are not working in various communities,” said Lesufi.

He said even if there was no load shedding, those communities would be without electricity.

Lesufi said the community of Dobsonville has had no electricity since the beginning of this year.

“Eskom said before they can fix the transformer, each and every household must pay R1 000, but me and you know the level of unemployment and we know the number of people that are old in those communities and this means that these communities would stay without electricity.

“We are stepping in as a department to tell Eskom it's fine, we will take it as the provincial government through City Power. We will ask City Power to find a replacement for those transformers. We have appointed young people that are police wardens, we have given them the necessary tools of trade like cars, weapons, to now start to patrol strategic areas to eradicate criminals who steal infrastructure,” said Lesufi.