“Ghost” Mayor Does Nothing To End Job Threatening Blackouts

Today, the City of Tshwane must present a maintenance plan for all Tshwane substations following another round of prolonged blackouts in the East of Pretoria. Since this past weekend, residents of Faire Glen, Olympus, Equestria, Lombardy, Donkerhoek, Wapadrand, Boardwalk, Zwavelpoort, and Silverlakes have been plunged into darkness after a fire broke out at the Wapadrand Substation.

It is expected that the present blackout could last up to a further two weeks for some areas.

As per usual, the City of Tshwane’s “Ghost Mayor”, Cllr Randall Williams, is nowhere to be seen as service delivery within the city continues to deteriorate and residents suffer.

Every day without power not only hurts residents, but threatens jobs at businesses which cannot continue to operate under this environment. One would think that in the present circumstances, ensuring that City’s electrical services are fully operational would be a priority for Cllr Williams.

With the Ghost Mayor’s continued absence on the many crises faced by Tshwane, residents would be better served by ensuring that they vote him out in the coming elections. Indeed, the City has gone from reporting financial surpluses in revenue collection to bankruptcy while under his absentee leadership.

The City must present a plan that will demonstrate how future blackouts are to be prevented. Indeed, the fact that some residents may go a full two weeks without power is unacceptable. The current blackouts in the City are a result of poor maintenance of infrastructure under the DA-led government.

Residents cannot continue to be subjected to ongoing service delivery failure by the DA. The present blackouts could have been avoided had the City been performing regular low maintenance on these substations.

Equally concerning is the looming jobs blood bath set to take place in Ekandastria due to power cuts which the City of Tshwane is threatening.

Political squabbling between the ANC-led Mpumalanga Provincial Government and the DA-led City of Tshwane municipality is endangering the continued existence of some 20 factories providing jobs to the communities of Ekangala, Zithobeni and Bronkhorstpruit, where the unemployment rate is estimated to be as high as over 80%. 

When the City of Tshwane merged with the Metsweding District Municipality in 2011, the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA), the entity collecting rates within the Ekandastria area, was not absorbed into Gauteng Province nor was its responsibility towards Ekandastria clarified. Despite businesses continuing to pay for services, they now face the threat of power cuts due to the bickering between MEGA and the City of Tshwane over rate collection.

The present situation needs strong political leadership from “Ghost Mayor” Clllr Williams. Once again, he is missing in action. In order to prevent the loss of jobs in the area, the City must:

  1. Announce that it has stopped its plans to punish businesses for its own administrative failures by instituting blackouts in Ekandastria;
  2. Meaningfully engage with MEGA to resolve their dispute and transfer the management of Ekandastria from MEGA to the City; and
  3. Expedite the execution of these engagements to save needed jobs. 

After surviving the recent looting and violence that took place in neighbouring Mamelodi, the last thing these businesses need is the city cutting their power supply. The manufacturing sector is a critical player in South Africa’s economic recovery and we must do everything we can to create an enabling environment for these businesses to thrive.

As ActionSA, we will not allow for jobs to be threatened by petty bureaucratic bungling. Should the City fail to act, we will engage the Gauteng MEC of COGTA, Lebogang Maile, to intervene and assist this desperate business community.

In the coming Local Government Elections, ActionSA stands ready to ensure the delivery of quality services to the residents. We will ensure that power interruptions to businesses will be a thing of the past by upgrading and emphasising maintenance of critical infrastructure and pursuing affordable independent electricity procurement opportunities.

The only way to bring change and real service delivery to the City of Tshwane is by voting “Ghost Mayor”, Cllr Randall Williams and the DA out.

We urge the people of Tshwane to go prepare themselves for change by registering to vote during for the coming local government elections.