The Executive Mayor of the Cape Winelands District Municipality, Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht, said she will not support an increase in electricity costs, especially when the supply of electricity is so unreliable that it directly affects the constitutional rights of the residents in the Cape Winelands District.
This follows the announcement last week that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) approved Eskom’s electricity price hike of 18,6%.
Von Schlicht said she was deeply concerned about citizens’ health and safety, which was being compromised by the effects of load shedding.
“The Cape Winelands is currently faced with the fact that, because of the load shedding, local municipalities’ infrastructure has been impacted and the ability to deliver on their mandates challenged,” she said. “In two areas the water purification plants have been impacted to such a degree that the safety of the water cannot be guaranteed. Citizens have been advised to boil water before drinking it. Having to boil water adds another element of stress to our day and for many of our citizens simply depletes their resources.”
Another effect of repeated load shedding,” the Mayor added, “was the opportunity it afforded criminals. Repeated criminal activity has, in some areas, caused electricity outages for longer periods. The Cape Winelands District Municipality noted that many citizens reported the loss of large quantities of perishable foods during these blackouts. I implore communities to immediately report such criminal activities.
“Furthermore, small and independent businesses are in a situation where they may not be able to afford to run generators continuously to keep perishable foods fresh. I noticed several posts on social media informing customers of closures due to load shedding.”
Von Schlicht said it was with grave concern that she witnessed the damage to the local economy, brought about by a negligent government. “How is any business, large or small, expected to survive when the odds are so stacked against them? All industries, businesses, and agricultural stakeholders, even spaza shops, are at some point along the line dependent on the supply of reliable and affordable electricity.
“Our current electrical supply is neither reliable nor affordable. One cannot ethically support a price increase for a service that is failing us.”
She applauded the local municipalities and sister departments, such as Western Cape Health and Education, for their concerted efforts to find remedies that continuously provide our citizens with the services they are constitutionally entitled to.
“Let us continue to support each other and do our best to keep the Cape Winelands a district of excellence.”