KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has noted with great concern the publication of a notice by Eskom in which the power utility threatens to cut the electricity supply to Newcastle on Monday, 30 September from 6am.
This notice comes at a time when the department, together with the Provincial Treasury and the Newcastle local municipality, have had several engagements with Eskom, all of which have focused on resolving the issue of payment for the debt owed by Newcastle municipality.
There are currently concrete proposals on the table, including a proposed payment plan to Eskom that is affordable and can be honoured by the municipality.
In light of the latest developments, MEC Hlomuka has directed senior officials to engage with Eskom and all stakeholders in the best interest of the community of Newcastle.
“We take note of the fact that Eskom has issued this notice and we continue to work to find a lasting solution to this challenge which is a direct outcome of the socio-economic challenges many citizens are going through due to the sluggish economic growth and stubborn unemployment rate. We continue to engage in the spirit of growing South Africa together,” said Hlomuka.
“As the Provincial Government, we are doing all that we can to prevent power interruptions or a total blackout in Newcastle as this would have catastrophic consequences for the local economy of Newcastle and of the province. All parties have shown their willingness to help with resolving this impasse. We are exploring a number of options and we are already at an advanced stage,” said Hlomuka.