Buffalo City Metro yesterday pleaded with Mzamomhle residents in Gonubie to allow a contractor they chased away last week to finish an RDP electrification project.
The city roped in Ballenden and Robb Consulting Engineers to electrify 300 houses in the area but residents brought the project to a standstill last week, saying they had heard that after the 300 houses were completed the contractor would up and leave without electrifying the remaining 260 houses.
But infrastructure and engineering political boss Ncedo Kumbaca said the electrification process would be done in phases.
“The entire area will be electrified but all of that will happen in stages. We are completing phase two and only at the end of July do we intend to start with phase three. Phase three will include the informal settlements,” said Kumbaca.
Mzamomhle Development Forum chairman Myekeleli Molosi said they were prepared to allow the municipality to finish phase two but were going to be on the watch-out for the starting time of phase three.
“Because of a lack of communication from the municipality the community did not know that the electricity voltage in the area could not allow the rollout to be carried out all at once.
“We didn’t know that it needed to be carried out in stages,” he said. He warned residents against illegally connecting electricity, saying illegal connections not only overloaded the power supply but posed huge danger to residents, especially innocent children.
The contractor is expected back on site today. It is expected that phase two will be complete by the end of this month, Kumbaca said.
“We believe that our people were not brought up to speed on how this project would be carried out and we want to leave today in agreement that the contractor goes back on site on Monday to complete this phase and in July we start our last phase,” said Kumbaca.
Earlier this year the city declared war on izinyoka and promised to electrify informal settlements.
That commitment was driven not only by the need to curb electricity theft but the need to provide a safer city, Kumbaca said.
Electricity theft cost BCM R90.8-million in revenue in the six months from June to December last year, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa revealed this year.
The R90.8-million forms part of a total R162.1-million lost in 11 months of the past financial year.