Endless service delivery woes for Dal Fouche

Residents of Dal Fouche and surrounding areas have been the unlucky recipients of numerous power cuts over the last few weeks.

After numerous phone calls and messages to the Springs Advertiser, Ekurhuleni Metro call centre and other departments, the residents were fed up and demanded answers from the municipality.

The residents struggled with no electricity for three days last week, from Monday to Wednesday.

Jacques Botha, a resident of Dal Fouche says the power was off on Monday this week again, with no help forthcoming from the metro.

“There are people who earn a living from home and their businesses are suffering as they cannot operate without electricity,” he says.

“People with health issues who rely on oxygen tanks (or similar machinery) are in danger when the power is out for such long periods.”

He adds the community is speculating on the WhatsApp group whether there are outside sources trying to tap into their electricity supply.

“Now that the water problem seems to be sorted in a way, now there is the electricity problem.

“What is going on?

“Is Dal Fouche specifically targeted to receive poor service delivery?”

Karen Louw, also a resident of Dal Fouche, says the metro doesn’t communicate with the community.

“We have to send email upon email to get a response and then it is short emails with some random excuse,” she says.

“I had an answer saying the substations are too old and cannot handle the amount of power pushed through the station.

“Then we receive answers stating that it was a trip switch. There are also other excuses.”

Louw adds that if the metro were to put all their cards on the table, they wouldn’t have such strong reactions from the community.

Read: DOWNLOAD: Metro provides damage claim form for residents after power outages

“We struggle to get answers and a reaction from our ward councillor, Thulani Simelane, who once told the community he would go out of his way to give us better service delivery in the area.”

She added that Dean Stone, their previous ward councillor, used to react immediately and spent nights with the community and contract workers to solve any problem they had.

Clr Simelane says he was on site at the substation when the power was off last week and he was there when it was switched on.

“I am on the community’s WhatsApp group and always respond and am in constant communication with them.

“When I received news that the power was off again, I immediately contacted the electrician to inform them of the problem.”

Residents and the Addie asked for answers last week but no answers were forthcoming, so Louw elevated the matter to the office of the MMC, Bohani Shingange, and the strategic advisor for the MMC of Water and Energy, Tiisetso Nketle.

In the answer to Louw’s complaint which was emailed and cc’d to the Addie on Thursday, Shingange chastised her for the language she used in the heat of a frustrating moment, but still offered no comment or resolution for the problem.

In a phone call to Shingange – to clarify the name of the MMC – he reiterated the use of Louw’s bad language saying that she has every right to raise her frustration, but without the disrespectful language.

The issue was still not addressed.

Themba Gadebe, spokesperson for the metro says the outage was caused by the network that was over-loading, due to the fact they were back-feeding.

Gadebe offered no explanation when asked what ‘back-feeding’ meant.

“Technicians are currently restoring the network to its normal state and power supply was expected to normalise by the end of this week (last week),” he says.

He adds that the community was not informed of the three-day outage as it was not a planned power outage.

In response to why the community has not been given a response after numerous complaints, he says: “Technicians were always on site working on solving the network problems.”

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Do you have an interesting newsworthy story? Contact the newsroom on 011 812 4800 or send an email to Samantha Keogh (editor) samk@caxton.co.za, Izahn Krige (digital journalist) izahnv@caxton.co.za or Anna Robertson (journalist) annar@caxton.co.za

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Izahn Krige

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