Ongoing electricity crises: A sore that will not go away

Most of the residents that attended the meeting, were in agreement that burning buildings and equipment would bring no results.

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The residents of eMbalenhle have been struggling with power cuts for a long time and residents are saying that they are fed up with the situation. It would appear that only certain areas are targeted with these cuts. Sources in Govan Mbeki Municipality told The Bulletin that it is load shedding, but GMM is also afraid that the network might be overloaded and that a substation might be damaged beyond repair, according to sources. This information, however, has not been verified as of yet.
Calls have been coming from far and wide for renewed protest actions and to “Burn the Mall, Burn GMM.” The protest actions flared up during last week but were quickly suppressed by the police. The Bulletin reported on those events.
Some community members and leaders gathered and decided that an elected committee would meet with the Mayor of Govan Mbeki Municipality to discuss the electricity matters. This was the message that circulated after the meeting on 17 June: “Thanks to eMbalenhle residents for attending today’s Electric Crisis meeting at Emba stadium. We elected a team to engage with Govan Mbeki and other stakeholders on possible solutions and we’ll give feedback on Sunday, 23 June, 10 am at eMbalenhle stadium.”
The committee asked the residents to gather on Sunday, 23 June, for a feedback session. Most of the residents that attended the meeting, were in agreement that burning buildings and equipment would bring no results. A number of individuals continued to try and push their own agendas at the meeting and called for a strike. They also called for the burning of GMM buildings.
The Bulletin spoke to some of the elected committee members and was told: “The meeting was to report back to the community on the findings since the initial meeting on 17 June. Findings were: 1. To support the project to connect the Bracken Mine substation to the eMbalenhle substation. 2. To engage NERSA to suspend GMM’s electrical license so that we can be serviced by ESKOM. The community showed maturity and wisdom by rejecting the drunkards who tried to hijack the report back meeting for a strike. The meeting went well and a petition was signed to continue the process to take electricity to ESKOM.” They continued: “We were informed that others are calling for a strike on social media but the community is clear striking is not necessary and not the solution.”
During Sunday night, a quiet calm settled over eMbalenhle with everybody anticipating that violence will erupt at any time. The residents of eMbalenhle showed a different character. No protest actions were started and nothing was burned. Monday morning, 24 June, saw a normal workday.
The Bulletin was able to trace one of the people that were calling for violence after he was reported to the police by the committee. It would appear that there are some elements who continue to call for the protest to start. “Those people are used by the politicians,” said one of the people at the meeting to The Bulletin.
The road ahead is still littered with stones. Electricity problems are here for a short-term period, hopefully. There are short term solutions such as relaying power from the old gold mines’ substations. These types of solutions could go a long way in alleviating the problem.
Mr Benzi Soko, GMM Chief of Staff, released the following statement in response: ”Acting Regional Manager, Mr Stan Mzobe and his team are hard at work in embalenhle. The electricity challenges bedevilling the Govan Mbeki Municipality especially in eMbalenhle, are calling for all of us to roll our sleeves beyond the call of duty.”
Further: “It is now an open secret that the electricity situation in eMbalenhle has reached crisis proportions and demands that we should apply Out-of-the-Box Thinking and strategising.
It is therefore against this background that we applaud the posture taken by the Acting Regional Manager, Mr Stan Mzobe and his team to implement the BATHO PELE PRINCIPLES in the practical sense of implementation.
He is currently leading a team that is busy with the installation of Electricity Transformers aimed at improving the supply of power to the community.
We should all take cue from this posture as we continue grappling with the challenges that GMM is currently facing. Bra Stan and your team, you all deserve a Military Salute!”
In the meantime, eMbalenhle is still without reliable electricity supply! – Encee van Huyssteen

Mr Mfungelwa Hadebe of the elected committee addressed the crowd on Sunday morning and asked for calm and explained that violence is not the answer.

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