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DA meets with Centlec to discuss frequent power outages in Bloem

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Political parties urged Centlec excempt water reservoirs in the Mangaung Metro from load shedding.Photo: Supplied
Political parties urged Centlec excempt water reservoirs in the Mangaung Metro from load shedding.Photo: Supplied

Political parties in Bloemfontein had discussions with the Centlec and the Manguang Metro in the light of several power outages this past week.

The DA in the Mangaung Metro met with the CEO of Centlec, Malefane Sekoboto, and managers on Monday.

Johan Pretorius, leader of the DA Mangaung Caucus said in a press release on Tuesday that they wanted to find clarity on the regular power outages in the metro.

He says Centlec confirmed that load shedding contributed most to the loss of equipment and places the blame squarely on Eskom.

“The public utility must take responsibility and assist Centlec to recover the funds lost from acquiring new equipment,” Pretorius said. Centlec did not budget for load shedding and the technical equipment is not designed to be swiched on and off daily.”

According to Pretorius Centlec will do everything in their power to make it easier on consumers.

Some of the key factors that was discussed to improve the lives of residents, include:

  • Improved and more frequent communication to go out to the public to keep residents informed;
  • Areas of businesses and factories to be exempt from load shedding where possible to assist the economy of Mangaung;
  • Discussions with police forums, neigbourhood associations, the South African Police Service, security companies and civic societies to assist with protecting the power infrastructure from damage by theft and vandalism;
  • Centlec will look into options to get traffic lights on a seperate grid so that they can work even during load shedding;
  • The areas with water reservoirs to be excempted from load shedding to improve water distribution;
  • A program to be put in place to prune trees in all areas with power cables above ground;
  • Explore renewable energy options along with the private sector; and
  • Draft new policies to be tabled in council to assist developers in financing new substations with the funds used being deducted from electricity consumption, assisting Centlec to build new infrastructure for the municipality.
    • Oupa Khoabane, spokesperson for the Interim Provincial Commitee of the ANC in the Free State, said in a press release the IPC is worried about the continued lack of power due to load shedding and the unending challenges of Eskom.

    Khoabane said the ANC in the Free State is aware of the many areas that do net get a regular water supply due to many reasons. Key amongst those is the inconsistent supply of electricity that leads to reservoirs not pumping enough water for distribution to households.

    “We urge municipalities to find ways of ensuring that reservoirs are functional and the supply of water remain consistent.”

    Pretorius said as the official opposition, the DA will monitor the steps discussed with Centlec and keep them to the promices where possible.

    Henry Denner VF Plus counsillor in Mangaung, said the VF Plus also urged Centlec not to apply load shedding to reservoirs in the metro.

    “Mangaung and especially the northern parts of Bloemfontein had serious water shortages this past week because of load shedding and power outages. The metro’s power infrastructure is in such a bad state of repair, that they had huge problems at several substations because of the power begin switched off and on regularly.”

    He said what is very concerning, is the huge loss of income to the local economy because of the regular loss of power and water.

    “We received complaints from chicken farmers, hair salons, abatoirs, supermarkets and kindergardens. Obviously the heat wave increases the problems.”

    Denner said they asked the acting city manager Tebogo Motlashuping to put pressure on Centlec to exempt reservoics from load shedding.

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