Eskom debt‚ worn-out infrastructure and big rats result in Witbank blackouts


Eskom debt‚ worn-out infrastructure and big rats result in Witbank blackouts

Naledi Shange | 2017-03-14 11:40:08.0

Image by: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock

Residents of KwaGuqa in eMalahleni‚ Mpumalanga‚ were plunged into darkness for over a day after a “big rat” entered the substation‚ leading to the panel exploding.

The municipality posted a short message on its Facebook page on Sunday‚ saying it could not confirm when the repairs would be complete.

Power was restored around the early hours of Tuesday morning to some of the residents.

Others‚ however‚ are still without power after the local municipality announced that the panels of the substation needed to be cleaned before power could be restored to the entire area.

Locals say they are fed up with the municipality’s problems.

“One would swear we live in a rural area because you can’t live in this place and not own a Primus stove or gas stove. We pay rates and taxes but are forced to live like this‚” Dipuo Skhosana told TimesLIVE.

Last month‚ residents were outraged after Eskom decided to cut power to the coal-producing city after the local municipality failed to settle its debt worth almost R1 billion.

During this time‚ taps also went dry as the municipality said it needed electricity in order to purify the water supplied to residents.

Pupils in several schools were told to stay at home as the toilets could not be flushed and there was no water to drink.

Some staff at the Witbank Provincial Hospital resorted to giving patients bucket baths‚ while other scheduled procedures had to be put on hold.

Meanwhile‚ an elderly woman landed in the hospital‚ where she fought for her life after her private oxygen machine failed to operate during the power cuts.

At the time‚ municipal manager Theo van Vuuren said the issues in the community could be attributed to residents and businesses failing to pay their municipal debt as well as the old‚ outdated infrastructure.

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