Addressing energy crisis on top of Gwamanda’s to-do list

In his inaugural state of the city address on Tuesday, City of Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda highlighted the pressing issue of the countrywide electricity crisis and presented solutions aimed at improving the lives of residents.

Gwamanda highlighted the grave implications of loadshedding, stressing the substantial risks it poses to the safety, security, economy, and overall quality of life in the city. 

He also recognised the pressing necessity of delivering a dependable and sustainable power source to the residents and businesses of Johannesburg.

Drawing attention to the recent heartbreaking incident, where a toddler’s life-supporting oxygen machine failed due to loadshedding and technical faults, the mayor stressed the need to collectively address the failings of government.

The mayor noted that the untimely death of the child serves as a reminder of the pressing urgency to find permanent resolutions to the crisis.

“Last week Monday, residents woke up to the disturbing news of the death of a toddler, whose life-supporting oxygen machine could not support her because loadshedding and technical faults meant the home she lives in was without power for eight hours,” Gwamanda said.

“We do not need to be politicking around this tragic event, but we need to collectively own the failings of government to our people.

“The premature death of the toddler is a stain on our collective conscience and should always serve to remind us of the urgency with which we must find lasting solutions to our energy crisis.”

He said the government of local unity has made it a top priority to mitigate the impact of planned outages through City Power, the city’s electricity provider.

In collaboration with City Power and the city manager, the mayor revealed the extension of the power purchase agreement with the Kelvin power station for an additional three years ending in October 2026.

Currently, the city purchases 87% of its power from Eskom, with Kelvin supporting the remaining 13%.

He said the increase in power supply is expected to benefit residents, particularly during the upcoming winter peak period when a significant growth in demand is anticipated.

Furthermore, he pledged to work closely with the province to explore other initiatives aimed at improving the energy mix and availability within the province and the city.

Gwamanda also acknowledged the pressing need to address the rampant cases of vandalism and cable theft, which have adversely affected power supply, noting that these incidents not only incur substantial costs for the city, but also disrupt the lives of residents for extended periods. 

“We must also urgently attend to the rampant and increasing cases of vandalism and cable theft. These incidents are at a great cost to the city and at an even greater cost to residents whose supply is affected for days and weeks on end.”

Addressing the concerns of specific communities, such as Eldorado Park, the mayor expressed his commitment to expediting infrastructure development projects to cater to the growing needs of these areas.

In this regard, he noted that the completion of the ongoing sub-station upgrade in Eldorado Park has been identified as a priority, ensuring that residents are no longer left in the dark.

“We are also under pressure to invest in new infrastructure to cater for growth in communities such as Eldorado Park.

“The people of Eldorado Park are in the dark because their sub-station has been under upgrade for far too long and remains incomplete. We have committed to ensuring that City Power expedites this work and meets the set timelines to complete the work being done.

“We are engaging independent power producers to diversify our energy sources and ensure reliable electricity supply.

“Additionally, we will roll out rooftop solar installations for disadvantaged households in our city. By promoting renewable energy adoption, we aim to enhance energy security, reduce electricity costs, and contribute to a greener and more environmentally sustainable Johannesburg,” said Gwamanda.

As Johannesburg faces its electricity crisis head-on, Gwamanda’s address demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the energy landscape and ensuring a better quality of life for all residents.

The urgency to address these challenges is evident, and with the proposed solutions, the city aims to create a more reliable and sustainable power supply for its citizens.

Meanwhile, Eskom announced the suspension of loadshedding for Tuesday saying the decision is based on the expectation of reduced demand and improved generation capacity.

Loadshedding was temporarily halted from 8am to 4pm, however, starting from 4pm, stage four power cuts will be implemented according to the previously published schedule.


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