Weekend power cuts not due to Eskom debt

Mbombela CBD.

MBOMBELA – In fact, Eskom confirmed the suspension of the proposed cuts in a public notice on Friday.
“The interruption has been suspended following CMLM honouring its obligations in terms of (the) signed repayment plan agreement,” the notice read.

Should the municipality not keep to the agreement, it may still experience scheduled power cuts in future.

Eskom is obliged to supply electricity on a financially sustainable basis. The failure of CMLM to honour the aforementioned payment agreement will lead to interruptions within seven days.”

Lowvelder has put in a further media query to the municipality about several other power outages over the weekend. Residents in KaMagugu, Steiltes, West Acres, Riverside, and Valencia complained at various stages from Friday to Sunday about the power being off.

Also read: City of Mbombela to settle Eskom debt

DA leader in CMLM, Mr Steve Schormann, responded to the KaMagugu outage on social media, saying that a new mini substation had been installed. Regarding the Riverside and Valencia outages, he said there was a cable-theft incident on Saturday morning which caused the lack of power in those areas.

One resident complained on the Facebook group, Nelspruit Electricity and Water Information, about the Delta substation.

“The substation or transformer or whatever it is that provides us with ‘on and off’ power is in need of an upgrade! Every time we have rain it’s the Delta area that always suffers. Why hasn’t the municipality bothered to fix that problem once and for all!? It’s exposed to cable theft, transformers always blowing or there’s a ‘technical’ problem. It’s always the same rigmarole, every week,” she said.

I don’t have an issue if the power goes off now and again, but seriously, we already know by now that our area is always affected in bad weather. Our area is one of the oldest areas in (Mbombela), so why not upgrade this area’s power system?”

Mbombela ANC councillor Mandla Msibi


Meanwhile, Speaker of CMLM, Cllr Mandla Msibi, has invited members of the public to attend the third special council meeting today where the 2015/16 annual reports for the former Mbombela and Umjindi local municipalities will be considered.

Also on the agenda are the following: the report on Umjindi Local Economic Development Agency (Umleda) 2015/2016 audited annual financial statements, mid-year performance assessments for the 2016/17 financial year, and the report on the design of the new logo for the City of Mbombela. The meeting starts at 14:00 in the Council Chamber at Mbombela Civic Centre.

CMLM’s response to Lowvelder’s question about where residents’ money went if it was not used to pay the Eskom account:
“With regards to the Eskom matter, we unfortunately won’t be commenting any further as we feel that our explanation to council was sufficient,” spokesman for the municipality, Mr Joseph Ngala, said on Friday.

According to the chief financial officer’s report which was represented to council on January 18, CMLM’s accumulated Eskom debt was attributed to two factors. Firstly, it said National Treasury had not transferred all grants to the two former municipalities in July 2016 because of the amalgamation process. Secondly, the implementation on a single complied financial system for CMLM in July and August 2016 “resulted in less enforcement of the credit control and debt collections measures”.

The paper has not received a response to any of the following questions:
• Which areas of CMLM are managed by the municipality and which are directly supplied with electricity by Eskom?
• Did any CMLM employee or official receive a bonus at the end of 2016?
• What is the explanation for the power outages throughout Mbombela in recent weeks?

Also read: DA explains Eskom crisis

Philippa Francis

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