Rustenburg Municipality must fix electricity outages or allow private businesses to intervene

12 Aug 2021 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Rustenburg tried to coordinate private intervention to bring the continuous electricity outages affecting businesses in the Central Business District (CBD) to an end.

However, we were informed that the Rustenburg Local Municipality’s Acting Head for the Electrical Department, Edgar Phiri, refused to give the go-ahead for the intervention to fix the ongoing CBD electricity outages.

Since the beginning of 2021, 38 businesses trading in the Rustenburg CBD have experienced sporadic electricity outages that last, on average, more than 45 hours at a stretch due to the municipality’s failure to maintain and upgrade the electrical infrastructure.

These sporadic electricity outages have continued unabated while the municipality’s electrical team only manage to temporarily repair faults.

In some instances, municipal technicians simply flip the breaker back on, only for the electricity to trip within an hour. Affected businesses report that they experience up to 15 electricity outages in a single day.

DA councillors repeatedly tried to engage with the municipality’s electrical unit to find a permanent solution, but none has been forthcoming.

The municipality blames numerous illegal connections at a mini-substation for the constant electricity outages caused by faulty connections but has failed to trace and remove these illegal connections

To assist affected businesses, the DA contracted a private licensed electrician to determine the true cause of the electricity outages.

The electrician managed to determine with two simple non-invasive pieces of equipment that the causes are a faulty connection, together with a possible faulty breaker. The faulty connection causes an increase in resistance, raising the cable temperature which causes the breaker to trip. The breaker is a 300-amp breaker and the current load being drawn is less than 250-amps.

The DA in Rustenburg submitted the electrician’s report to Executive Mayor, Mpho Khunou, who then arranged for the electrical team to attend to the problem. The team responded but failed to bring the necessary repairs which resulted in businesses being left without electricity supply during the long weekend.

We will request an appointment with the Municipal Manager, Mr Victor Makona, to urge him to provide approval from the municipality following our engagement with affected local businesses who are willing to pay for a private and licensed electrician to permanently fix the faults.

The municipality cannot continue to hold the city hostage whilst failing to bring the much-needed repairs.

Under a DA-led government, there would be no need to go to these great lengths to bring lasting solutions to service delivery issues such as these because a DA government would respond in real-time, applying resources where they are needed to improve the lives and livelihoods of residents.