Finger on the switch
The Department of Public Works needs to pay an R18-million electricity bill or face being cut off.
Tshwane officials visited the department's Pretoria offices yesterday to cut off the electricity supply.
But the department denies it is in arrears.
Spokesman Thami Mchunu said: "This was a big misunderstanding as all our accounts with Tshwane municipality are up to date.
"As it stands, the Tshwane municipal officials have left and have not cut our electricity," Mchunu said.
Tshwane spokesman Nomasonto Ndlovu said the Public Works Department had been issued with a 21-day notice of the municipality's intention to cut the service if it does not pay the outstanding amount.
"The notice expired yesterday. This is in line with the city's credit control policy. At this stage no agreement has been reached and the City of Tshwane will go ahead with the cutting off of the electricity unless the amount is paid," she said.
By late yesterday afternoon, lights were still on in the two Public Works buildings.
Ndlovu said she could not say why the electricity had not been cut off.
"As far as I know, they should have switched off the lights," she said. Public Works has been in serious administrative trouble, with its new minister, Thulas Nxesi, admitting that the department was in a "dark place characterised by corruption and mismanagement".
The Times recently reported that several police offices in Limpopo were left in the dark after the Department of Public Works failed to pay landlords.
Officers were locked out of their offices at several other stations, because the department had failed to pay the rent.
Electricity to the Makhado police station, in Limpopo, was disconnected by the building's owners who said they were owed more than R1-million in rent.
Officers at the police station are using gas lamps in some offices, including the public service centre.
The department owes more than R1.2-million for electricity for the police station.
Sources in the Limpopo provincial government said yesterday that the situation at the two police stations was unchanged.
They alleged that other departments were about to have their power cut, or that workers would be locked out of the premises.