Excuses are ridiculous

I read, with great interest, the article in this week’s Northsider in which ward councillor Leah Knott “addresses” the cable theft issue in Honeydew.

Firstly, let me state quite clearly that this issue is a burning and difficult one for all concerned. I however, do not believe the councillor really addressed the issue at all in the report; she merely stated what is happening. I also do not believe that any really serious effort is being made to resolve this as it has been an ongoing issue for years now and an effective solution should have already been found.

Absolutely no firm indication of what is being done as a matter of urgency to address this issue is given, in my humble opinion. It is in fact stated that the [matter] cannot be resolved overnight, but it’s been years that the problem has been around, and it’s certainly not an overnight issue.

Some further observations :

1. Costs for repairs are shown to be astronomical – How much would it cost to fund proper security to stop this in our area rather than having to pay all of these costs? It is stated that it costs between R15 and R20 million to replace a transformer, R600 000 to repair a cable joint, and R14 million annually for replacement of cables. This adds up to a huge amount of money if we take the number of outages in our area into account.

2. Surely [employing] a security company to patrol the area for this specific purpose would be a cost-efficient exercise that could easily be [covered by] these amounts with some change to spare?

3. The article also indicates that copper cables are being replaced by aluminium, which is ALSO being stolen. Another useless, wasteful exercise.

4. I have driven past sites where technicians are “working” on repairs, and let me tell you – more than once, [I have seen] everybody standing around, smoking, laughing and chatting away with absolutely no apparent rush to get the issue resolved. Does overtime pay possibly have something to do with these long delays in repairs?

5. This week, an unannounced scheduled repair (apparently scheduled to last 8 hours) was carried out on Sunday and took 15 hours. Who did this – somebody who knew what they were doing or someone who messed up the whole setup even further? I did not receive any SMS to say that a scheduled outage was planned, nor was there anything on the website when I looked. We had no problem for a while, until they “did the maintenance” and then the problem started all over again. Out for two hours on Wednesday and off again for about 14 hours on Friday?? These people work on these units every single day of the year; surely they know where to find common problems and have the expertise to do repairs more quickly?

6. The Twitter response to queries is also a joke – no response to your request for info or, “We have no ETR” or, “We will provide updates” (which never happens) or, after waiting up to 7 hours for some feedback on a request we get told, “Technicians are working on problem”. No info is provided as to the actual problem, which leads to more unhappiness and a lack of understanding.

7. With respect, it is my observation that our councillors are also not really contributing to getting issues resolved properly. Certain of them are quite particular as to when and how they MAY be contacted. They are public servants and yet most of the issues appear to have to be resolved by the residents themselves. If they [the councillors] are doing anything, I certainly have never had any feedback on what they are busying themselves with. Our road – During Road – was so badly potholed at one time that I had to actually contact the “Zuma” hotline and appear on Carte Blanche before the road was repaired. Where was our councillor then, and why did he/ she not grab the initiative and get the job done?

I am sorry to say, but I think the councillors are a weak bunch with no muscle or persuasive power. We are the paying residents and do not burn down things or stand on corners protesting about the lack of service delivery in respect of this issue, and so we just suffer and suffer. We have been without power for about 1,25 days out of the last six days – it is a recurring issue that has been on the go for years now and our councillor continues to say “It cannot be resolved overnight.” That’s ridiculous in my opinion.

Roelien Vorster

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