Dark underbelly of Ermelo’s neglected infrastructure

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GK CRONJE

10 February 2021

Msukaligwa Municipality washes their hands of the damages suffered due to the outages.

The recent heavy downpours experienced in Ermelo has highlighted various issues within the infrastructure of Ermelo and its wards. During bouts of heavy rainfall, businesses and residences are repeatedly drenched as accumulated water flood houses and ill-prepared businesses, due to the fact that the majority of storm drains are blocked and of no use. Swelling water torrents sweep through the streets and pool in ditches and dips in the CBD and residential wards. The reality of the major pollution issue within Ermelo becomes apparent as the water subsided, and all manner of refuse, fast food containers and liquor bottles are left in the wake of the torrents. Several reports of water pipes have been reported, with a vast amount of water being wasted as the thinly-spread municipal teams scramble to attend all issues reported by residents.

Complaints are mounting regarding the call centre, supposedly revamped and operating at optimal capacity, where phones are left unanswered. Complaints also included rude responses from operators, or the lines remaining engaged for hours on end. Most frustratingly, many residents have been left without electricity for days on end. Heavy rainfall, rainwater pooling around substations and electrical kiosks, as well as the myriad of exposed innards from coverless electrical kiosks added to the rolling power outages. Residents in John Vorster Park struggled with fluctuating electricity supply, Netherland Park’s wards have been shrouded in darkness, and De Bruin Park’s residents suffered extensively. Most notably, residents in Jansen Street had been left without electricity for over 3 days, as from Friday morning, with some residences still being without electricity supply on Monday morning. Oosthuisen Street and Havenga Road also bore a big brunt of the outages, as accumulated rainwater caused havoc on the poorly patched MV cables.

Fuming complaints on social media lamented the fact that the constant fluctuation of electricity had damaged electrical components, including DB boards, televisions, fridges and deep freezes. Many complaints also included the fact that frozen foods have thawed and spoiled due to the constant outages, with Msukaligwa Municipality washing their hands of the damages suffered due to the outages. Residents in Cassim Park are left with their hands in their hair, as scores of wards were left without electricity for hours, and even days, as technical teams struggle to keep up with reports and complaints. Residents in Wesselton and Sun City also lamented the fact that outages have been rolling and ongoing over the course of several days, much to the frustration of irrate complainants, with technical teams from the municipality taking their sweet time to attend to outages in outlying areas.

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