Major blackout hits Pietermaritzburg on Sunday amidst 39 degree heat

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A major outage hit Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
A major outage hit Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

The city of Pietermaritzburg was hit with a major power interruption on Sunday afternoon.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the cause of the outage was unknown by 2.30 pm and the cause was being investigated. 

She said the 132kv  breaker tripped affecting affecting all five primary substations and that it was reset and closed.  Late yesterday she said the electricity department was still investigating the cause of the trip.

Unplanned interruptions of the supply affecting five main primary substations occurred.

These were:

These areas are without power on Sunday

1. Retief Primary substation  - Chase Valley, Montrose, Woodlands, Oakpark, VCC, City East and surroundings

2. Pine primary - Blackridge, Prestbury, Clarendon, Wembley, Boughton, Mpumuza and surroundings

3. Archbell Primary - City Centre

4. Crossways primary- Hilton, Sweetwaters, Winterkloof

5. Prince Alfred primary - City West, Pelham, Bisley, Southlands and surroundings

This as the city sweltered in temperatures of 39 degrees, as released by the SA Weather Service on Sunday. Residents took to The Witness Facebook page to share which suburbs were without power. 

Nhlanhla Mdluli who lives in the CBD called The Witness complaining about how he was missing the match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates because of the power outage.“You’d understand how important this match is if you were a Chiefs fan. Our reputation is at stake here. Pirates fans will think they have bragging rights for the whole year if their team wins again,” he said in reference to the recent defeat Chiefs suffered at the hands of the Pirates.

By 3.45 pm, power to some areas had been restored. 

Meanwhile, the DA was circulating a petition calling for immediate action to be taken to end the constant blackouts in Msunduzi municipality.

The blurb to the petition reads: "Enough is enough! Residents and businesses across the City are subjected to crippling electricity outages on a weekly basis. We, the residents of Msunduzi call for the following immediate action to fix the situation:"That the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on COGTA, Energy and Public Enterprises investigate the electricity crisis within the municipality. That the city in their budget prioritizes or sets aside funds for maintenance and aged infrastructure. That the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) conduct an immediate forensic audit of the City’s Department in order to determine whether the municipality has transgressed any of its license requirements. That all vacant posts within the Electricity Department be filled immediately.That all electricians and technicians be immediately provided “tools of trade” so that they can provide a service to the residents of Msunduzi. That Eskom, insofar as it is responsible for the supply and maintenance of electricity to the metro, fulfils its obligations fully and timeously."

By 3.55 pm on Sunday, 2 681 people had signed the petition at https://petitions.da.org.za/p/keep-our-lights-on-in-msunduzi.

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