By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA-The executive mayor of Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality Masetjhaba Lakaje-Mosia says illegal electricity connections and vandalism of electricity infrastructure are the major causes of unreliable power supply in the municipality.
Lakaje-Mosia said this during the tabling of the budget of R266.9- million the 2021/2022 financial year.
“Very few people actually purchase electricity, while the rest consume it freely and this adversely affects our revenue collection. There are illegal connections and breaks-ins at our sub-stations. These criminal activities delay our progress as we find ourselves having to continually replace stolen equipment instead of upgrading other areas.
“Our residential areas have grown significantly and continue doing so; as things stand, we are not yet able to meet their electricity demands. These and several other challenges contribute immensely to the ever-increasing Eskom debt. As a result, Eskom has reduced its power supply to our municipality, and this has negatively affected the reliable supply of electricity in our community,” the Mayor lamented.
Lakaje-Mosia pointed out that the high unemployment rate of 48.1 percent also has an adverse effect on municipal finances, as a higher proportion of the rural populations is unable to pay for services.
She said, as an intervention for this financial year, the municipality has bought 103 transformers to the value of R7.4 million.
“We have fixed 34 high mast lights around Map; the municipality bought four 500KVA mini substations worth R4-million to benefit the industrial area. We have also refurbished the Mankabelane substation at a cost of R6-million.”
In a quest to accelerate service delivery, she said, 13 bakkies and two trucks (cherry pickers) have been acquired for the electricity department.
“So far we have 50 vending stations and we are working on allocating at least two to each ward. We have made it possible for residents to purchase electricity electronically (via cellphones) from the comfort of their homes.”
She added that the auditing of households and businesses still continues, as well as renewal of electrical connections where applicable.
Lakaje-Mosia concluded that, with the assistance of the provincial department, a master plan has been developed to guide with electricity distribution and supply. “Following the visit of Deputy President David Mabuza, the municipality and Eskom are in talks on a possible deal to work together on providing electricity services.”