Hilton residents put at ease

2010-05-03 00:00

HILTON residents’ frustrations with the recent electricity and water cuts were apparently eased last week when Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr and Sbu Khuzwayo of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality announced plans to ensure better service delivery.

Tarr apologised on behalf of the ANC for the poor running of the municipality in recent times.

At a packed meeting with Hilton residents at the Church of the Ascension hall on Friday night, Tarr explained that electricity to the village runs off two lines, of 20 kVA and 12 kVA, and that the problems last week were due to the faulty 12 kVA line.

“It will cost R1,2 million to repair the 12 kVA line,” said Tarr.

But when both these lines are in working order they “are quite sufficient to supply the area”, he said.

The mayor said it will cost between R3 million and R3,5 million to get the electricity system running efficiently. “The money is available and work should commence in the next couple of weeks,” said Tarr.

Once the maintenance work is completed by the end of July, “we should see the end of our problems, barring things like storms”.

Tarr said it has been suggested that a resident engineer be employed to fix supply faults in the area, “because at the moment there are only people who can do patch work, and cannnot create policy or do repairs or planning”.

Residents expressed concern that their complaints are not taken up. Tarr tried to put them at their ease, announcing the launch of “a complaints line where you are given a number, which is e-mailed with your complaint to the relevant department, who will then provide you with feedback”.

Tarr said the most prominent reason the area is facing supply problems is the lack of maintenance. “It is an appalling situation and capital projects should be put on hold … grants are going to be needed to upgrade infrastructure,” he said.

Addressing complaints over erratic water supplies, Khuzwayo said most of the problems are due to ageing infrastructure and a lack of maintenance and capacity.

The existing pipelines are made of asbestos, which is an illegal substance, and “we should invest in replacing that infrastructure as a matter of urgency”, he said.

“In the next three years, we want to entirely replace the old infrastructure and this will cost R250 million.”

Khuzwayo emphasised that there should be an investment in water management.

“We need to invest in Spring Grove dam. There will be no water in the municipality if the dam is not built [within three to four years].”

However, Khuzwayo added, the municipality is preparing all the paperwork to ensure this does not happen.

Tarr said the ANC should be held accountable for the poor running of the municipality.

“I have met the premier [Dr Zweli Mkhize] and we are deeply shameful and sorry, but the premier said we will pull out all the stops to make right what has gone wrong.”

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