Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist


‘Rubbing salt to the wound’: Salga KZN slams ‘insensitive’ load shedding comment by ANC MP

'Some businesses have even closed shop because of load shedding.'


The South African Local Government Association (Salga) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has condemned African National Congress (ANC) MP, Sylia Lucas, after claiming that load shedding was “not the end of the world“.

Lucas made her statement on Tuesday during Parliament’s debate in response to the State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.

Her utterances has since been met with criticism from the public.

‘Salt to the wound’

Addressing the media on Wednesday, KwaZulu-Natal Salga chairperson, Thami Ntuli said it was “depressing” to hear the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) deputy chair’s remarks.

“That statement was insensitive. For municipalities has resulted in loss of revenue and service delivery pickets that have affected the economy.

“Some businesses are unable to pay their dues to municipalities because of load shedding which has left them financially limping. Some businesses have even closed shop because of load shedding,” he said.

ALSO READ: NCOP deputy chair’s load shedding comment ‘out of line’

The Salga KZN chair pointed out that the rolling blackouts were affecting water pumps and reservoirs, thus, also having an impact on citizens as well.

“In some painful cases, patients are turned back by health centres because there’s no power or water to operate. As I am addressing you right now, there are several places throughout the country that are in darkness. There are services that have been halted because of load shedding.

“Now to have a leader of the society like Lucas saying [what she said] is very painful and it is really rubbing salt to the wound of the many who have lost jobs and income because of load shedding,” Ntuli continued.

Diesel

Ntuli also expressed concern over Eskom‘s spending on diesel generators.

According to the Salga provincial chair, this has increased from under R1 billion in 2011 to now over R30 billion a year.

“Load shedding is impacting municipal operations in profound ways. It has forced municipalities to take extreme measures to keep waste water plants and water purifications plants running to prevent water contamination. This came at a considerable cost,” he added.

READ MORE: Eskom sabotage? – Intense load shedding coinciding with political events at Ramaphosa’s expense

Last month, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa emphasised the need for Eskom to strike a balance between mitigating the severity of load shedding and adhering to the constraints of the diesel budget.

The minister revealed the Eskom has not depleted its diesel budget and warn that the power utility should not going over its budget as the end of the 2023/2024 financial year draws closer.

Diesel is the primary source for Eskom’s open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs), which generates electricity.

“[Eskom] must remain within the parameters of what has been allocated. The financial year still has two or three months so it’s important that in terms for their own projections they don’t get to exhaust that because someone gets to pay for it and that somebody will be the end consumer,” the minister said.

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