Formal plans initiated to cope with black outs – Herman Mashaba

Mayor says Joburg has responsibility to minimise disruptions of essential services

City Initiates Formal Plans to Cope Under Crippling Rolling Black Outs

20 March 2019

The City of Johannesburg has begun formalising plans with key Departments and Entities to ensure that disruptions to City services are minimised to residents as a result of rolling black outs.

Currently, the City of Johannesburg, like most municipalities I suspect, receives little to no information from ESKOM in respect of a medium term outlook on rolling blackouts. It is of great concern that Provincial Government, and bodies like SALGA, remain silent on the lack of information coming to municipalities.

In this environment it would be irresponsible for the City of Johannesburg to have no comprehensive plan in terms of how it will respond to the current levels of load-shedding, any escalation thereof and the worst-case scenario of a National Blackout.

The City of Johannesburg has a responsibility to ensure that its essential services to our residents are interrupted to the minimum possible extent.

Already, we are experiencing a serious level of disruption to our normal services in terms of:

- Load-shedding induced outages to our aged electrical infrastructure;

- Damage to City Power sub-stations;

- Water reservoirs running low due to an inability to pump water to high-lying areas to date Brixton Tower tends to experience challenges as a result of rolling black outs;

- Traffic lights flashing red across the City once power is restored, repairing additional man power from the JRA. This in turn adds to higher traffic congestion levels.

- The City is required to redirect JMPD officers from crime fighting duties to perform Pointsmen duties as a result of loadshedding. Just this morning, 224 officers were deployed to address congestion.

The City of Johannesburg is deeply concerned of the extent to which National Government has this situation under control and, given the lack of a medium-term outlook, has no option other than to consider planning for further escalations of load-shedding stages.

We call upon National Government to communicate with local government so that planning can be achieved that will mitigate further interruptions of services.

The residents of Johannesburg must be protected, to the extent possible, by their municipality against further disruptions of essential services. It would now appear that municipalities remain the last line of defence against the damaging impact of rolling black outs on our residents and economy.

Metropolitan Municipalities like Johannesburg, hold a constitutional mandate to deliver critical services at the coal-face of government. Our ability to fulfil this responsibility is being severely hampered by these rolling blackouts and lack of information.

Issued by Luyanda Mfeka, Director, Mayoral Communications, 20 March 2019