Rustenburg rural areas hamstrung by extended electricity blackouts

Issued by Jean Keyser – DA Councillor: Rustenburg Local Municipality
20 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Cllr Jean Keyser.

The DA in the Rustenburg Local Municipality has written to Mayor Sheila Mabale-Huma, and the Municipal Manager, Victor Makona, asking them to intervene in the extended electricity blackouts plaguing rural farming communities outside of scheduled loadshedding sessions.

We have repeatedly requested municipal officials to attend to the extended blackouts, but our requests have been ignored.

Affected areas include farms along the R24, in Zuurplaat, Boschfontein, Modderfontein, Rhenosterfontein, Rietfontein, Waagfontein, and Oorzaak.

Farmers and rural communities are particularly hard hit, despite the impact of loadshedding disrupting their farming activities, the extended electricity blackouts prevent farmers from pumping water and from activating their security systems, leaving them even more vulnerable to crime.

With loadshedding, farmers are left without electricity for up to 20 hours on end, but as the local electricity grid is near collapse, and the municipality suffers from low stock levels which prevent the repair or replacement of transformers at substations. Some areas are regularly experiencing electricity blackouts with a duration of between 8 to 12 weeks at a time while the municipality waits for parts to begin repairs.

The ANC-led Rustenburg Local Municipality is failing to deliver services to residents and respond for assistance during crises. The municipality is aware of the extended blackouts, but despite knowing the negative impact this has on the community, has failed to even make provision for emergency water supply.

The DA expects that Mayor Mabale-Huma and Municipal Manager Makona table a plan at the next Council Meeting detailing the municipality’s efforts to limit the disruption of extended electricity blackouts on these communities.