The Naledi Local Municipality has been hiding a damning National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) report on the collapsing electricity infrastructure for more than 5 years while residents continue to suffer regular blackouts.
NERSA’s 2017 Compliance Audit Report found that little to no planned maintenance took place on the electricity grid and that the municipality is in violation of its electricity distribution license conditions.
The DA had several pertinent questions during a Council meeting earlier this month, specifically the reasons the report was only sent to the Infrastructure Committee in September 2022, and why Council is only now considering it. As could be expected these questions were met with silence.
We proposed several resolutions for Council to consider, these were:
1. That the Municipal Manager should table a Maintenance Action Plan with measurable Key Performance Indicators;
2. That the most recent NERSA Audit Report should be tabled;
3. That an application to increase the Notified Maximum Demand be submitted to Eskom;
4. And that a new and measurable Standard Operating Procedure be issued by the Electrical Department Head to all departmental employees to ensure that they are at work and on-site as required.
Unfortunately, Council, with the ANC majority, rejected these resolutions, opting rather to refer these issues to the Executive Committee for discussion.
It is evident that the ANC-led Naledi Local Municipality has no interest to improve the lives of residents.
However, during a meeting with Naledi, the Dr. Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality, Eskom and other key stakeholders, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy announced that funding will only be allocated for the increase of Naledi’s Notified Maximum Demand (NMD) should the Naledi Local Municipality apply for it.
Eskom also stated that when it comes to a municipality’s crumbling infrastructure, they can only assist with technical advice, such as drafting a maintenance plan, but only if the municipality requests it.
The DA wrote to NERSA requesting them to share with us the most recent audit report on the municipality’s electrical infrastructure. If the 2017 report is anything to go by, we anticipate that this report will be far worse, placing the municipality in violation of its distribution license.
The DA also communicated with the MEC for Finance, Motlalepule Rosho, insisting that she assists Naledi with a payment agreement with Eskom and that the upgrading of the NMD is included in the recovery plan. We also asked that an electrical maintenance plan be included in the Financial Recovery Plan.
The DA will continue to apply pressure on the municipality until residents receive the services they are entitled to.