“It doesn’t surprise me because they have lacked giving attention to maintenance, as we’ve seen with the water outage,” Democratic Alliance local government MEC Fred Nel said.
The Times on Monday reported that the City of Johannesburg lost a third of its electricity, worth R3 billion, to theft and poor infrastructure. This was according to a council report covering the period from April to June.
The newspaper reported that Eskom figures showed Johannesburg accounted for more than half of South Africa’s lost electricity.
“Eskom loses more than R2 billion annually to electricity theft. The loss suffered by the country as a whole when including municipalities is at least double that,” Eskom was quoted as saying.
City Power spokesman Hloni Motloung said these results had not been audited by the Auditor General. Audited results would be released in November. He was unable to comment further.
Nel said municipalities needed to take responsibility for power infrastructure.
“They haven’t budgeted sufficiently in the past 14 years for maintenance and, as a result, if you don’t look after infrastructure, you’re going to lose it. It’s much more expensive to replace it than to maintain it.”
Nel said Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan had put in place minimum operational budgets for maintenance, to catch up with the backlogs.