Gauteng government promises to solve water and electricity woes ahead of elections

17 September 2021 - 15:40
MEC Lebogang Maile has promised to solve water and electricity issues in Gauteng ahead of the municipal elections. File photo.
MEC Lebogang Maile has promised to solve water and electricity issues in Gauteng ahead of the municipal elections. File photo.
Image: Mabuti Kali

The Gauteng government has vowed to resolve the water and electricity supply crises in the province ahead of elections.

Human settlements, urban planning, cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile was speaking in Sandton on Friday about the province’s readiness for the elections.

“As a provincial government, we have been very concerned about the constant water and electricity outages experienced by our communities. We have been exploring options, along with all relevant stakeholders, to resolve these.

“The water and electricity supply crises in the province have seen many communities subjected to random, unscheduled power cuts, with some communities being without electricity for months and limited or no water supply for unacceptably long,” Maile said.

He said a status update meeting was held on Thursday between the provincial government and the Electoral Commission (IEC) to discuss the province’s state of readiness for the upcoming voter registration weekend.

Voting stations will be open for new registrations or change of personal details from 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

“However, if there are still voters in the queues at closing time, the IEC has committed that these voters will first be attended.

“Gauteng has 2,815 voting stations, including 271 temporary stations. Elected public representatives (MPs, MPLs, MECs and councillors) will be deployed to do oversight and monitoring in the province,” Maile said.

He said they were satisfied with the IEC’s state of readiness and urged residents of Gauteng to ensure they were on the voters' roll and correctly registered.

“We have been doing our utmost to ensure we create a conducive environment for local government elections to be held successfully during this period of Covid-19 with our mass vaccination programme, civic education outreaches and voter education drives.

“Local government is the heart of service delivery for communities and these elections provide an opportunity for individuals and communities to take matters into their own hands through the power of the ballot box.”

Maile said it was also discussed that municipalities located in areas where electricity is supplied by Eskom and who happen to have extra capacity, such as the City of Johannesburg, have tentatively entered into a payment or trade exchange agreement with the utility to try resolve electricity problems.

“Eskom will reimburse these municipalities either through reducing their debt or through direct reimbursement,” he said.

“Municipalities were compelled to explore the different grants received from National Treasury and ascertain whether some grants can be diverted to addressing other problems such as sinkholes and other water-related challenges.”

Municipalities were urged to cultivate a culture of paying for services among citizens and ensure they respect the rule of law, he added.