Alexandra Road police’s power cut off

2018-06-28 16:11
Public Works didn't pay bill.

Public Works didn't pay bill. (File )

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The Alexandra Road police station and barracks also fell foul of the City’s disconnection policy this week when their lights were switched off due to non-payment.

The Department of Public Works confirmed yesterday that it had not paid up its Msunduzi lights account in full due to an unanswered query concerning the married quarters at the barracks. However, urgent negotiations resulted in the electricity being reconnected on Wednesday.

Several police sources at the station and the barracks were dismayed at the outage and some called The Witness as they heard rumours that the station owed millions of rands to the municipality. It was reported that apart from being left in the dark on Tuesday night, the phone lines were also down.

Several police officers either working at the station or aware of the situation said it was difficult for officers to do their work and that it was “unacceptable” that the station’s phones were down.

“What if a member of the public called with an emergency? We would not have known and therefore could not have been able to help,” said one officer.

Another complained that the officers were not told by police management why their electricity had been cut.

While The Witness could not ascertain on Wednesday what amount was outstanding to the municipality, some sources claimed that the station owed in the region of R12,5 million. The accounts are payable by the national Department of Public Works.

Policemen in the barracks also complained that their salaries are docked monthly for electricity and water.

National Public Works spokesperson Thamsanqa Mchunu said yesterday that an agreement had been reached between the department and Msunduzi, and that electricity was restored on Wednesday afternoon. “The Department of Public Works stopped paying around January due to an unanswered query that it has about the married quarters section of the police station,” he said.

“The married quarters section [in the police barracks] is supposed to be paid for by the South African Police Service themselves.”

Mchunu said they would settle the outstanding amount on the invoice but said that any interest accumulated on the bill would have to be refunded by the police. “A joint team from the department, the police and the municipality will investigate this issue and agree on an amicable arrangement.”

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said on Wednesday that the electricity was disconnected due to arrears in the account.

“The municipality has a responsibility to deliver services to the public and supply electricity.”

She said, however, that non-payments by businesses and consumers who owed large amounts meant electricity had to be cut. “We appeal to everyone to pay their accounts,” she said.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said “the matter was resolved and Public Works have made payments”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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