Democratic Alliance (DA) mayoral candidate for Ekurhuleni Municipality, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, put up the party’s first poster in the municipality as she kicked off the party’s campaign for local government election – in which she vowed to address the area’s power outages if elected.
Nt’sekhe climbed the utility pole at Glen Marias in Kempton Park to tie the poster that contained her face as the DA candidate for the municipality, which the DA almost won in the 2016 local government election. It was wrested from its hands by the ANC, which managed to put together a coalition and governed the city.
Ekurhuleni is Gauteng’s industrial hub and home to one of the world’s busiest airports – the OR Tambo International Airport. Earlier, she visited Tembisa township where she spoke to some members of the community about their problems.
The hot potato to the residents of Ekurhuleni was regular power outages which the party vowed to address should it win the 1 November local government election.
Nt’sekhe’s activity coincided with a power outage, where Germiston experienced a power outage from 2pm on Monday, while a substation in Springs broke down forcing residents and businesses to go without power.
DA Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate spokesperson Warren Gwilt said besides the Eskom load shedding, Ekurhuleni had experienced 65 hours of power outages this year while Wattville saw 72 hours of low voltage which forced the local industries to a halt.
Gwilt said should the DA win the municipality in November, it would install solar panels on all identified municipal buildings and give lower rate to businesses that generated solar energy that fed back into the municipal grid. This way the party would replicate its Cape Town model where the City escapes the Eskom load shedding as it generates its own electricity that it also feeds into the grid.
“Residents of Ekurhuleni face electricity outages on a daily basis, crippling the economy of the metro. Poor stock controls in the Metro’s Energy Department, vacant funded technical positions in the department, ageing infrastructure and a lack of regular maintenance have brought the Metro to its knees, while the incumbent ANC-led administration sit by idly while the municipality faces systemic collapse,” Gwift said.
Besides the stock shortages, 750 vacancies existed within the municipality’s energy department. Due to lack of stock in the stores when even a fuse stopped, residents and businesses had to wait for up to three days while the stock was being ordered.
“Unreliable electricity will scare away investors from this area, they will go and set up their businesses elsewhere. Fixing the electricity problem can go a long way towards resolving all other problem in Ekurhuleni,” Gwift said.
“This means we will never solve the electricity crisis in Ekurhuleni. Low voltage cause factory machinery to break and we cannot afford that and all these power outages in a City that has 39% expanded unemployment. Lots of this would be solved had enough electricity supply.”
Nt’sekhe, who is a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature currently, undertook to address these matters during her campaign towards the 1 November local government election. She was selected as candidate in line with the party’s decision to stage high profile candidates to contest at all the major metros of Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town.
Nt’sekhe accompanied DA leader John Steenhuisen and the party’s Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Kevin Mileham, to address residents and businesses of Ekurhuleni about the power issue and what solutions the party had in store for them.
The candidate plans to unveil her party’s municipal level manifesto launch in Springs on Wednesday.
During the visit, Steenhuisen and Nt’sekhe are expected to lay out the DA’s vision for the area.