City seeks fix for electricity crisis

2011-11-17 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality administrator Sibusiso Sithole has approached Premier Zweli Mkhize in an attempt to get funding to fix the city’s ageing electricity infrastructure.

Sithole said they have even been to Pretoria to tell Deputy Energy Minister Barbara Thompson of the pressing need to provide financial assistance to solve Msunduzi’s electricity problem.

Residents have inundated The Witness with calls asking what the city’s leadership is doing to resolve the issue.

What is more, when the residents call the municipality to complain about interruptions in the electricity supply they get pushed from pillar to post.

A resident from Hilton, who did not want to be named, said: “Maybe the solution is to take the municipality to court because we are fed up with this.”

Msunduzi asked for R489 million from the finance department, which will be used for revenue protection.

It also requested a further R400 million from the Department of Energy to fix ageing sub-stations, which need urgent attention.

In August last year Mkhize said there would be no bail-out for the financially embattled Msunduzi.

The council also requested R500 million from National Treasury during their mid-year budget review in August this year.

Sithole said: “It is important for the provincial and national government to understand that if the municipality does not get funding to upgrade the ageing infrastructure this could lead to the disturbance of the entire functioning of the KZN government as the legislature is situated in the city.

“We are just finalising a tender to permanently fix the Hilton line.”

Sithole said they are looking at getting more than R500 million to be able to fix the electricity and water infrastructure problems.

“We have formed a joint venture with the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business to look for independent consultants and retired electrical experts who can help in getting the city out of its electricity woes.”

Sithole said work to put new transformers in the northern suburbs has begun.

“We have used R60 million towards fixing electricity infrastructure from the money we received from the Development Bank of Southern Africa,” he said.

He said the municipality is calling on all stakeholders to come to its aid.

“We are also focussing on areas that do not have electricity infrastructure,” Sithole added.

Ndabe Sibiya, the premier’s spokesperson, said, “The premier is prioritising the issues of service delivery in the province and he is also particularly focussing on Msunduzi to ensure that it retains its status as the shining municipality of the capital city.”

thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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