Indigent residents ‘denied’ free electricity

2018-01-26 06:00

THE Shayamoya community are asking why the Greater Kokstad Municipality stopped providing free electricity after they applied for it.

Underprivileged residents said they have been getting free electricity from the municipality under the municipality’s indigent programme, but allege that since last year this has stopped.

One resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said she lives in an RDP house with her grandmother and no one in the family works and they can’t afford to buy prepaid electricity.

“We depend on my granny’s old age grant and a child support grant and we can’t afford to buy prepaid electricity.

“For years the municipality gave us free electricity, but this stopped in June last year. We were told to reapply for free electricity and we did,” said a 33-year-old Shayamoya woman.

The woman blames the municipality for not giving them feedback after they applied for free electricity.

Sihle Mbabala, the Shayamoya South African Communist Party leader blames municipal leaders for not taking poor people seriously as they promised to. He said poor people are supposed to get free services from the municipality.

On Monday Kokstad had a power outage for three hours.

GKM spokesperson Nthabeleng Matshoba said the municipality has received applications for indigent services from the public and applications are being processed to avoid the granting of non-qualifying households.

“Applications are submitted to a tracing agent, forwarded to auditors and approved by the council. Due to these processes, the municipality is trying to minimise the turn-around time to within six months,” said Matshoba.

She said the municipality is committed to assisting people who are financially needy, but the assistance must be within the prescripts of the policy.

“There was an explosion where one of the switch gears at our main substation exploded leaving the town without electricity,” said Matshoba, when asked about the outage.

She said a service provider has been appointed for repairs.

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