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Ekurhuleni: Call centre closed

The Ekurhuleni metro’s call centre has been closed due to a reported Covid-19 case to allow for deep cleaning and disinfection.

The metro’s spokesperson Themba Gadebe said in light of this, the metro’s guidelines on Covid-19 management cases, including screening and testing, will apply accordingly.

While the call centre is closed, service related issues may be reported through the following channels:

  • My Ekurhuleni App
  • The Ekurhuleni social media accounts
  • Email call.centre@ekurhuleni.gov.za
Ekurhuleni Mayor, Mzwandile Masina in hot water over his tweet!

Ekurhuleni: Officials in the Office of the Executive Mayor Test Positive

Seven staff members in the Office of the Executive Mayor have tested positive for Covid-19.

The seven confirmed cases include the following senior officials;

  • A Member of the Mayoral Committee,
  • The Head of Department, and the
  • Spokesperson to the Executive Mayor.

All staff in the Office of the Executive Mayor tested for the COVID-19 virus on 9 July.

The Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni, Cllr Mzwandile Masina’s results returned negative.

As a precautionary measure, the office will be closed for decontamination and deep cleaning.

The Executive Mayor will be attending to all council business via virtual meeting platforms until further notice.

Source: Office of the Executive Mayor

Ekurhuleni: Work Under Way to Repair Thokoza Substation

The City of Ekurhuleni is working around the clock to restore power to areas in Thokoza that have experienced power outages due to a substation fire that happened on Monday, 6 July. The substation exploded due to possible overload affecting Thokoza Extensions 1 and 2, Everest, Unit F, Thokoza Gardens, Time housing, and Phola Park and Extensions.

City officials are on site to investigate the cause of the fire, and to prepare for restoration of power to the affected areas.

The City of Ekurhuleni has budgeted about R46 million for the Thokoza Electricity Infrastructure Programme to upgrade substations; network enhancement; metering and the provision and maintenance of streetlights and the electrification of informal settlements in the area.

This is in response to power interruptions in Thokoza and Phola Park largely due to supply overload

The City appeals to residents to use electricity sparingly by switching off non-essential appliances during peak hours.

Ekurhuleni: Disconnects illegal electricity at informal settlements.

Ekurhuleni metro has declared war against ongoing illegal electricity connections at informal settlements in the district.

This comes after business owners, schools and paying customers expressed their frustration with unplanned power outages.

Paying residents in Berton Park and Witfield in Boksburg have been subjected to recurring power cuts since the start of winter owing to illegal connections at nearby informal settlements.

Berton Park resident Stanley Maile told The Star, “Angelo informal settlement and our area are divided by a street. During peak hour when the grid is overloaded it trips. I feel that it’s not fair. Why can’t the municipality sort out their issues with the non-paying residents? We don’t mind if load shedding is implemented for everyone, but this is just unacceptable.”

Ekurhuleni metro spokesperson Themba Gadebe said metro police have been involved in a series of raids across various informal settlements, where they have attended to illegal connections.

Gadebe pleaded with affected parties to co-operate with the city as they continue to seek solutions.

Another resident who wanted to remain anonymous questioned the municipality’s action plan, indicating that the raids should have taken place a while back.

“This has been an ongoing issue. I don’t understand why the municipality is only acting now and we don’t know if they will be consistent or not,” she said.

The municipality’s intervention includes a task team of mayoral committee members which has been established to work alongside engineers in identifying potential hotspots in the area and providing the mayor’s office with a report on the measures to be taken.

 

Source:IOL / The Star

Photo Credit: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Ekurhuleni: DA donates Library to Buhle Park Secondary School

 

Mr. Sekobane officially opens the Buhle Park Secondary School Library & and the Library itself.

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni handed over a new library to the Buhle Park Secondary School, which promises to be a positive influence on learning outcomes for the students and the community at large.

On 30 June 2020, the DA team – consisting of Cllr. Kade Guerreiro, MP Michelle Clarke, Shadow MEC for Education Khume Ramulifho, and DA Youth Leader MP Luyolo Mphithi, officially handed over the new library to Principal Mr. Sekobane.

The Buhle Park Secondary School has been trying to obtain a library for years to no avail, as the City of Ekurhuleni has unfortunately failed to provide any funding or support.

The library has now become a reality thanks to the efforts by the DA, and the generosity of organizations, businesses and private donors all over the Province, who donated over 15 000 books, as well as tables, chairs and shelves.

The opening of the library marked the final day of Youth Month, and was an appropriate occasion to reflect on the youth of 1976, as well as on our current education system, where less than 10% of schools in South Africa have functional libraries.

This is a blight on the system and something that the DA is committed to make a difference.

Libraries play a critical role in providing students with access to information so that they can excel academically and ultimately uplift their communities.

CRIME NEWS: Eskom workers held hostage in Ekurhuleni

Eskom employees were on Sunday “held hostage” by community members in Zonkizizwe, Ekurhuleni, and allegedly forced to unlawfully restore power supply in the area, according to News24.

The power supplier has been implementing load reduction in a number of areas in Gauteng to avoid overloading in “high-density areas that are prone to illegal connections, meter bypasses and vandalism of electricity infrastructure”, according to a statement.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told eNCA on Sunday two of its technicians were kidnapped by residents and forced to restore a transformer that had been shut down owing to non-payment and illegal connections.

The technicians managed to escape safely after the ordeal that lasted more than an hour.

Mantshantsha told the broadcaster one of the technicians, who happens to live in the area, was followed home by a crowd who surrounded his house.

Mantshantsha said this was a criminal matter,  both the kidnapping and illegal connections and that Eskom would be pressing charges against the community members involved in the incident.

The issue of illegal connections has led to conflict between disgruntled residents and law enforcement officials in other areas as well.

 

 

On 10 June, Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers and police officers opened fire using rubber bullets to disperse residents of Phumula Mqashi informal settlement, near Lenasia South, who were protesting over the disconnection of illegally connected electricity in the area, News24 reported.

Mantshantsha told eNCA Eskom had seen an increase in hostilities against its employees.

He said employees were pelted with stones in Diepsloot last week as they were removing illegal connections, while other Eskom employees were kidnapped in Bronkhorstpruit in the same week.

On 15 June, two security guards were shot dead in Philippi East, Cape Town, while escorting Eskom technicians out of the area, News24 reported.

Eskom tweeted that it was committed to protect its employees and assets and would not allow communities to put undue pressure on Eskom or its employees in any way.

“Illegal connections and tampered meters will first be removed and audits conducted before supply is restored,” the power utility said.

 

Source: News24

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Ekurhuleni: Excavator Set To Root Out Invasive Plants in Lakes and Dams

On the left is CEO of Ultratrex Machinery, Mr Edward Bovu as he was handing over the newly purchased amphibious excavator to MMC Makhosazana Mabaso at the Germiston Lake.

 

The City is stocking up on resources to maintain its lakes and dams, while caring for the environment.

Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment Resources and Waste Management Services Cllr Makhosazana Mabaso officially received the amphibious excavator at Germiston Lake.

The amphibious excavator will be launched at the Germiston Lake for testing and training of officials who will operate it.

It will later be moved to dams that need urgent attention such as the President dam, Murray Park, Brakpan dam and Kleinfontein dam to assist with the prevalent water hyacinth.

This versatile machine can be used for different functions but it is specifically designed to manoeuvre in wetlands, lakes and dams.

This new equipment will augment the already existing Watermaster that was bought by the City in 2009.

The two machines are set to improve the efficiency at which the city manages and controls alien invasive vegetation in its lakes and dams.

The amphibious excavators can do the following functions:

  • Maintenance and cleaning of waterways, lakes and shorelines
  • Erosion control and prevention
  • Deepening of waterways
  • Maintenance and repair of natural environment
  • Flood protection and flood maintenance works
  • Landscape building and protection
  • Accessing difficult strands of water/soft terrain

Over R6 million has been invested in the purchase of the amphibious excavator.

 

Source: Ekurhuleni.gov

Ekurhuleni: No tarrif increase

The City of Ekurhuleni has decided not to increase the municipal tariffs that are within the control of the City, and relaxed credit control and debt management due to the unprecedented COVID-19 circumstances.

This was announced by the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance and Economic Development Cllr Nkosindiphile Xhakaza who delivered the City’s 2020/21 Budget today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional strain to strained municipal revenues. For instance, the City was forced to adjust the budget downwards from an approved MTREF Capex of R7.4 billion in the current financial year to R4.9 billion in the coming financial year, a move that has massive impact on the City’s infrastructure delivery programme.

“Despite our stretched finances, as a caring and responsive government, we have heeded the call. After carefully considering the dynamics and the resources at our disposal, we are proposing NO increase of municipal tariffs that are within the control of the City,” MMC Xhakaza said.

Among tariffs that are not to be increased are the following:

  • Assessment rates
  • Sundry tariffs
  • Refuse removal
  • Burial and Cemetery
  • Municipal Bus Services.

This package will come at a cost of R956 million to the City.

The social package is set to increase by R300 million from R3.8 billion to R4.1 billion this financial year. This is in addition to the R956 million relief that comes with the new tariff structure.

“In the quest to bring dignity to our people and provide a better life for all, we will continue with the social package. It must be made clear that we do that because we understand that our people deserve a compassionate government now more than ever,” said MMC Xhakaza.

The indigent relief breakdown is as follows:

  • 100% rebate on assessment rates;
  • Free refuse removal;
  • First 100kWh of electricity per month is free. This is more than the provision made by national government policy and the City will bear the costs of the difference;
  • First 9kl of water and sewer per month is free;
  • Special rates on emergency services such as ambulance and fire-fighting; and
  • Free indigent burial.

The City will continue to provide the first 6kl of water for free to all households with a property value of up to R750 000.

With regard to electricity, 100kWh of electricity will be given to every household meeting the requirements of a consumption of 600kWh and below – which is the Inclining Block Tariff (IBT) A.

To minimise the effects of the lockdown on the ratepayers, interest on current arrear debt accrued from 1 April 2020 are suspended for a period of six months,with payment extensions; debt payment.

Source: Ekurhuleni.gov

Ekurhuleni DA launches, Take Back Your Power campaign

A crisis that started many years ago at the ANC-led City of Ekurhuleni has reached breaking point with persistent electricity outages affecting areas all the way from Nigel to Germiston, leaving residents to freeze in the dark for prolonged periods.

The Ekurhuleni metro, by its own admissions, suffers more than 1500 unplanned outages a day, overwhelming its limited technical staff and leaving whole areas and sometimes whole towns without power for days on end.

Daveyton

On Friday alone, much of Daveyton was subjected to a devastatingly disruptive power outage.

Springs

In February, a substation burnt to the ground after years of warnings to the City about its state of disrepair, leaving all of the factories in New Era, Springs without power for weeks.

Germiston

In the industrial hub of Wadeville in Germiston, persistent outages over the past year have brought production to a halt, making it impossible for workers to do their jobs.

Large swathes were without power in early June after the staff went on a go-slow and switched off areas as a result of the metros failure to pay its overtime bills.

Kempton Park

Kempton Park has also been subjected to power outages for years, and last June a fire at the Glen Marais substation resulted in a 6 day outage, while power outages are a weekly occurrence in Ward 92.

Further underlying factors unearthed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) include poor contractor management, winning bidders subcontracting out their work in violation of the law, electricity substations that are in a critical condition from not being upgraded nor maintained and area managers who rarely go out on site to assist their teams.

Problems also stem from underlying issues like underspending of budgets on priority repair and maintenance work, no monitoring system for overtime work done, poor HR systems to manage non-performing employees, and major electricity cables that are not repaired years after being logged as defective.

The City of Ekurhuleni’s energy staff are stretched thinly, and having to work overtime constantly to attend to its ailing power grid.

The City also has a bloated management structure at the expense of service delivery.

Residents are being taxed heavily but staff is not hired to fulfill the municipality’s constitutional obligations.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) estimates that municipalities on average spend 10% of their salary budgets on staff for energy repairs, maintenance and reticulation, but Ekurhuleni spends just 3,7% on this critical function and constitutional obligation.

The City of Ekurhuleni recently admitted in Parliament to having been engaged in load shedding practices despite receiving sufficient supply from Eskom.

In some instances the DA has established that the claims of cable theft by the metro are used as a cover up for the fact that there has been a lack of maintenance on high-voltage cables.

Every hour of outage in the City of Ekurhuleni is estimated to cost R1,6-billion in lost economic output and hundreds of thousands of jobs are being placed at risk by a municipality that is failing to meet its constitutional obligations.

In order to address this crisis, the DA proposes that:

  • The standby team schedule for energy outages be shared on a weekly basis to all councillors.
  • There should be rapid improvement of communication on outages, such as estimated restore times being communicated within 4 hours of the outage being reported.
  • The same communication should be shared with the call centre management and on social media.
  • A special task team should be convened, inclusive of national government departments to investigate properties that are overloading the network, because of overcrowding and illegal connections.
  • In order to assist with the illegal connections, the city should request assistance from the police and army to protect officials, city and private property. The Metro should also investigate solutions toprovide electricity or alternative energy sources to areas with illegal connections.
  • All vacant posts should be filled in the energy reticulation department with an active shift-rotation system. This will reduce the amount of overtime required by the department and it will be a more effective way to spend the energy budget.
  • A schedule should be published for energy rotational load shedding to allow businesses and residents to plan in advance.
  • The metro should share the budget and accurate progress reports on all projects for energy infrastructure to date and allow regular, in-person oversight visits to projects by councillors.
  • Considering that the City of Ekurhuleni is the industrial heartland of Gauteng, thousands of jobs are being placed at risk by a municipality that is failing to meet its constitutional obligations.

When Eskom reintroduces load shedding to Gauteng, it will further exacerbate Ekurhuleni’s pending economic collapse.

The DA calls on the residents of Ekurhuleni to support its “Take Back Your Power campaign” by signing the below petition to pressurise the ANC-led City of Ekurhuleni to deliver a more acceptable electricity service to its residents.

https://petitions.da.org.za/p/takebackyourpower

 

Issued by The DA

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