Ekurhuleni power to get overhaul

2011-08-20 09:30

Johannesburg - The Ekurhuleni municipality will spend R130m to overhaul the electricity metering system in Tembisa, the mayoral spokesperson said on Friday.

"The project is expected to get underway within the next few weeks with an amount of R700 000 already set aside for this financial year," Zweli Dlamini said in a statement.

Tembisa residents protested on Friday over billing problems and electricity being disconnected.

They burnt tyres and blocked roads in the area and were intimidating people into staying away from work, said Ekurhuleni metro police spokesperson Mveli Nhlapo.

Four schools had been closed as a result of the protest.

Metro police fired rubber bullets at protesters who were stoning their vehicles.

"We asked them nicely to stop, but they didn't so we had no further option but to shoot them with rubber bullets," he said.

Seven people were arrested on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property. The situation had since quietened down and protesters dispersed, Nhlapo said.

Mayoral committee member Aubrey Nxumalo addressed protesters at the Mehlareng Stadium. The municipality condemned the "the acts of lawlessness" during the protests, Dlamini said.

"While we respect the constitutional right of people to voice their concerns including to protest, what we disagree with and will not tolerate is people who become disruptive in the process and also prevent other people from accessing the services they are constitutionally entitled to receive," he said.

"People who do such things must not expect to be treated with kid gloves."

Earlier, the Democratic Alliance called on the Ekurhuleni mayoral committee to intervene.

“While the DA supports credit control, we do not believe paying residents should suffer as a result of mistakes on the part of the ANC-controlled Ekurhuleni metro,” said spokeswoman Tania Campbell.

She said the finance MMC had to implement after-hours measures that would enable residents to have their billing problems sorted out when their electricity had been disconnected.

"Although the DA does not support violence under any circumstances it is understandable that residents are at their wits' end," she said.

"Tembisa is plagued by ongoing interruptions to the power supply and residents have a right to expect to receive the services they have paid for."

  • Macho Mike - 2011-08-20 09:39

    Power to the people?

  • Grant - 2011-08-20 09:42

    It has been said many times by many people on this forum. People need to realise that you get what you vote for!

  • Sentor - 2011-08-20 10:28

    Typical DA... backing both sides, they support law and order BUT use every opportunity to blame the opposition when they try to enforce compliance. The ANC have created this problem but that doesn't mean that when they actually do something sensible the opportunistic DA should position themselves to jump either way, anything to attract the voting fodder! Don't look to politicians for moral leadership THAT is the reality.

      Zion - 2011-08-20 12:02

      What you saw here is politics actually working

      Grant - 2011-08-20 12:42

      Senator, you don't find something suspicious in the fact that this announcement has only been made after the protests? If this had already been in the pipeline they would have been informed prior to the elections as part of the vote gathering campaign. I believe it to be a knee jerk reaction that will in the long run prove to be yet another broken promise

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-08-20 11:38

    Which comrade is due for a tender? Fill those pockets comrade!

  • Ant138 - 2011-08-20 11:54

    Why don't they have prepaid yet ???? It was forced on some JHB residents

  • Sentor - 2011-08-21 08:13

    The problem these towns have is that their revenue collection is very low, they are charging those that they do bill and who do pay large mark-ups on bulk to compensate. However reality is hitting home, Ekurhuleni and the City of Johannesburg well as many other municipalities are now having to implement metering and charge for electricity consumption. The DA should support this on the basis that it is illegal to steal electricity and it is not finanically sustainable for the country to continue to allow blatent theft. Yes there are dodgy tenders as a result of a completely inadequate oversight system, if the opposition parties really wanted to work in the interests of the residents then they would work on a system to oversee such tenders, giving technical and pricing information to those affected...that is those residents who pay them. Legislation is in place to install smart metering on all consumers who use more than 1000 Kwh per month. This need not be a bad thing if communities take some interest and ensure that the meters installed can give options such as time-of-use, feed-in options for renewable energy, remote billing as well as pre paid. Pre Paid options should carry a discount for consumers as the money is paid up front. Don't complain if you don't get involved with rate payers organisations as we all know the level of corruption is shocking and much of the revenue collection problem is caused by corruption.

      Dav - 2011-08-23 10:00

      Sentor, what an about turn compared to your first comment. Leave the political banter to the so called experts.

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