Power cuts make this ‘the darkest moment’ in city’s history

2011-09-02 00:00

“THIS City was founded by the Voortrekkers in 1838 and in all this time this must be one of the darkest moments in our history,” this was said by the Democratic Alliance Caucus leader, Bill Lambert to the Speaker Babu Baijoo.

He was commenting on the recent electricity outages that have been experienced in various parts of the city during the past two weeks, at the full council meeting this week.

“The recent (including Tuesday) electricity outages City wide from Copesville, Sweetwaters, Wembley, Clarendon to Northdale in fact everywhere are a testimony to that,” he said.

Lambert told the full council that in one of the suburbs six houses were without electricity for seven days.

“A meat company lost millions of rands worth of stock as a result of these outages,” he said.

He said, “Mr Speaker we owe it to our citizens and ratepayers not only an apology, but call for a full extensive enquiry into what was wrong. What is wrong?

“How we handled it and what we are doing about it?

“We want a full comprehensive report,” added Lambert.

The Administrator, Sibusiso Sithole said, “We are trying to investigate and look at the entire infrastructure as well as look at the state of every substation and check all the transformers because we know that we do have a challenge in terms of electricity infrastructure.”

He said it is also a cause for concern that a municipality as big as Msunduzi has only one qualified engineer. However, they have budgeted to fill the vacant positions in the municipality.

“We could also acquire the services of eThekwini Metro electricity department if need be,” he said.

He said at this stage there is no proof that sabotage was involved. Sithole promised to give a detailed report to the full council on the aging infrastructure when the investigation is completed.

The Mayor, Chris Ndlela said, “We have always been saying that we have ageing infrastructure, however, we have not given the public the detailed plans on what we are planning to do to improve it.”

He said the strike may have made things worse.

However Ndlela commended the hard work done by those who were working during the strike — especially the water and electricity departments for doing their best to ensure that these essential services were restored.

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