Electricity on the Mend
Let’s begin with a dash of good news: the country’s electricity scenario is looking up. This tidbit comes straight from the Cabinet’s recent briefing, and the Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, shared her take on it with the media.
“Yes, we witnessed an escalation to Stage 4 load shedding in the past days, but things are on an upswing. Units are returning to action, and Eskom’s now easing off on those shedding stages,” Ntshavheni commented. The heads-up came just as Eskom announced a move to Stage 4, following some unit failures.
The Real Reasons Behind Blackouts
Ntshavheni also shed light on another pressing issue: certain communities going dark, but not because of load shedding. The culprits? Illicit connections, theft, sub-station and transformer vandalism, and maimed distribution lines. The areas bearing the brunt of these blackouts include spots in Soweto, Tembisa, KwaThema, Komane, Taung, and Ditsobotla.
Here’s a glimmer of hope: The Ministers of Electricity and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are already on the case. They’re initiating dialogues with the impacted communities. The aim? Hammer out a plan to mend the broken infrastructure. But here’s the catch, as per Ntshavheni: “This will come with strings attached: a ban on unlawful connections, locals safeguarding power infrastructure, and of course, bill settlements.”
And talking about infrastructural upgrades, the partnership with Chinese firms will give a significant push. Ntshavheni added, “The recent agreements with Chinese entities will pave the way for advanced, self-sustaining electricity setups.”
The Contentious Western Cape Bill
Switching gears, the Minister touched upon the disputed draft of the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill. The essence of this Bill? It gives the province the muscle to flex its constitutional might, even seeking more clout from the national government.
But here’s the hitch: “This draft Bill breaches Schedules 4 and 5 of our Constitution, which outline the powers of provincial and national bodies,” the Minister emphasized. Furthermore, Ntshavheni believes this Bill harks back to the Democratic Party’s federal inclinations that could potentially dent the unity of the nation.
Plus, there’s another oversight, she highlighted: “This Bill seemingly disregards the marginalized Black communities of areas like Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, and others.”
The Cabinet’s move? Directing the Ministers of Justice and CoGTA to sit down with the Western Cape provincial government. The goal? Navigate this choppy water using the Constitution’s section 146 and other relevant frameworks.
Stay tuned to this channel, folks. We’ll keep you posted as these stories develop. Until then, keep those candles handy and hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train coming our way!