Outages all ‘suspicious’

2017-05-15 13:45
Northdale residents ask pointed power questions

Northdale residents ask pointed power questions (Sourced)

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Power outages — are we being punished or conned?

Following the number of power outages in the city over the last month, residents say they are not buying into the idea that these are as a result of maintenance issues or faulty cables.

Most, if not almost all, residents have an opinion on what the real issues behind the sudden power outages are.

Msunduzi Municipality has attributed the power outages to faulty cables, vandalised substations and problems with the Eskom supply. But Eskom maintains they are not to blame and that the fault lies with Msunduzi.

The back and forth of accusations and blame has left residents coming to their own conclusions, simply because they are not being given solid answers to their electricity woes.

A number of residents approached Witness Warriors with their theories.

Some residents, who live in the northern suburbs, believe their community is being punished for voting away from the ruling party.

“Are we being punished for voting for the DA? I mean these are majority DA wards and we don’t see major power outages occurring in other wards as often as here,” said Faradh Hoosen.

He said the residents are “continuously” subjected to massive power outages that last longer than an hour at a time.

“There is no time-table or anything like before so it cannot be load shedding. All of Northdale will be left without electricity but as soon as you pass Northdale Hospital on your way to town, there is electricity.

“It just does not make sense, which is why we believe it is a punishment for the DA wards perhaps to swing our vote at the next voting day,” Hoosen said.

Another allegation by residents is that electricity workers contracted to the municipality are, to put it plainly, switching the lights off to claim overtime payment from the municipality and their bosses for “fixing” the problem.

It sounds strange and we almost threw this theory in the rubbish bin, but when more and more residents came forward with the same thought, it became something to consider.

“Why is it that when our power goes off in our homes, the street lights are still on? If it is a power outage then everything should be off,” remarked one resident.

He said that he, along with his neighbours, discussed the possibility that it was a mere switch being flipped down for a while so that when contractors are called out, they get paid for working overtime. When enough overtime hours are accumulated, the switch is flipped back up and all is well in the community.

Ironically, these neighbours discussed the theory during a recent power outage.

On Friday The Witness published an open letter to the mayor by Blackridge resident, Eric du Preez.

Du Preez said that since May 3, they had experienced a power failure on six occasions, all at night, lasting not longer than four hours.

“The last was on Sunday at about 7 pm. On that occasion, a vehicle used by the municipality with a long ladder on its roof, was seen driving down Highfield Road away from the electrical unit shortly after the electricity went down.

“Some 40 minutes later, the same vehicle returned and electricity was restored. Very suspicious. This makes one wonder whether this is not an opportunity to claim ‘overtime’ payments.”

Although Msunduzi municipality has steered away from commenting on theories raised by residents, the sudden power outages are definitely a talking point among the city’s residents.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  power outage

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