Govan Mbeki Municipality struggles to settle account with ESKOM as residents voice their anger at ever increasing municipal accounts
Electricity supply is vital to businesses as well as members of the public as South Africa struggles through load shedding and power outages with the added pressure of illegal connections as well as cable theft directly impacting the consumer.
General service delivery concerns have been raised with the municipality by residents and on numerous occasions have raised their concerns with the Govan Mbeki Municipality (GMM).
Frustrated residents of Bethal and eMzinoni have taken to social media to voice their concerns in a video, using this platform stated there are steps in motion to take the Local Municipality to court as all other means of resolving the issues of service delivery as well as electricity supply has failed to yield results.
On the 30 July 2020, the Bethal & eMzinoni Community for Services Organisation (BECS) instructed their Legal representatives (McRoberts Attorneys) to hand over a letter of Demand to the GMM, the Gert Sibande Municipality and ESKOM. This letter of demand requests the institutions to funish a response and agreement in writing to ensure concerns such as electricity supply (amongst other things) are addressed. Failure to respond by a deadline of 7 August 2020 will leave the BECS attorneys no option but to take the matter to the High Court said Mr Ziyaad Dangor, the spokesperson for the organisation.
In response to this, the Executive Mayor of GMM, Ms Thandi Ngxonono held a virtual council meeting on the 30 July and agreed that the issue of service delivery and electrical supply concerns is a major concern to the municipality as well as public who are directly impacted and as such are angered by the current situation.
Ms Ngxonono claimed that more than half the electrical consumption losses (60%) are as a direct result of illegal connections resulting in electrical theft, this in turn impacts the GMM ability to pay for the ESKOM services.
In the virtual meeting it was also discussed that the service delivery concerns with regard to Waste collection has been resolved, the issue that resulted in a several week non collection of waste was due to staff who downed tools demanding correct personal protective equipment thus being a health and safety concern for workers.
Ms Ngxonono told the audience to the virtual meeting that this problem has been resolved and will not be a further problem.
Ms Ngxonono also made it clear that services supplied must be paid for, such as where municipal services and electrical supply is provided then all consumers must cover the costs. Where some of the community are not contributing to the services rendered added pressure is put onto the municipality as well as businesses or community members who make payments, as a result of this deficit the supply or service is negatively impacted.
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Community members are not satisfied with the response and reaction of the Executive Mayor and municipality and took again to social media to voice their frustrations about the response as well lack of mitigating action.
Many in the community are now supporting the BECS legal action, a fund has been set up to cover legal costs to which the community as well as businesses have already contributed. A substantial sum of over R 200 000 has already been raised to ensure the legal action as well as proceedings will follow through bringing the municipality to answer and rectify their actions.