ATC200618: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the Petition Pertaining to Numerous Power Outages in Boksburg and Germiston, Under the City of Ekurhuleni, Dated 17 June 2020
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON THE PETITION PERTAINING TO NUMEROUS POWER OUTAGES IN BOKSBURG AND GERMISTON, UNDER THE CITY OF EKURHULENI, DATED 17 JUNE 2020
The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, having considered the petition calling on the Assembly to investigate numerous power outages in Boksburg and Germiston, submitted by Mr M Waters (DA), and the Assembly having referred it to the Committee on 19 September 2019, reports as follows:
- On 19 September 2019, Mr Michael Waters submitted a petition on behalf of his Alberton constituency, calling on the National Assembly to investigate the numerous power outages in the Boksburg and Germiston areas in the City of Ekurhuleni. The Speaker referred the petition to the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for consideration and reporting. The Committee has a mandate to exercise oversight over the local sphere of government.
- In response to the request, the Committee called the City of Ekurhuleni, on Wednesday 03 June 2020, to brief it on the matter.
Mr Waters introduced the petition by reporting that the residents of Boksburg and Germiston had been experiencing numerous power outages that lasted up to five days. This was particularly devastating to the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) that operated in the area, thus depressing its economy and threatening the livelihoods of residents.
- RESPONSE BY THE CITY OF EKURHULENI
Responding on behalf of the City’s Energy Department, Mr Michael Wilson noted the following:
- The Ekurhuleni electricity network was one of the oldest networks in the country. The City had recently replaced some of the old electricity cables and anticipates that this will bring some level of stability in the affected areas.
- Further contributing to the electricity provision crisis in the areas in question was the growing problem of illegal connections and bypassing of meters by backyard house dwellers, and this had taken a massive upturn due to the lockdown.
- Despite these challenges, the City of Ekurhuleni performed better than most areas in the Gauteng region in the terms of electricity provision.
- COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
- The Committee noted the fragility of the ageing electricity network, which not only affected Ekurhuleni but also the rest of the country. The City of Ekurhuleni needed to develop a capital investment plan to respond to this challenge.
- There City’s decreasing revenue collection rate, and its effect on the electricity budget and electricity infrastructure spending was of great concern. At the same time, the Committee noted the City’s report that it had injected substantial amounts of funding in the essential services budget, including water and electricity.
- There were 383 recorded power outages in the Wayville area recently and the City needed to provide a specific timeframe by when it expected restoring stability in the area. At the same time, the Committee noted the report that the City had recently replaced some of the old electricity cables, as well as the anticipation that this would bring some level of stability in the affected areas. It also noted the clarification provided around the 383 outages, including errors in the counting methodology that may have exaggerated the magnitude of the problem.
- COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
- The City must immediately furnish the Committee with a copy of the progress report, as Mr Wilson tabled it, for purposes of communicating it to ward councillors and residents in the affected areas.
Report to be considered.
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