SA’s municipalities incurred about R1.1bn in overtime payments and spent R1.6bn to fix infrastructure damaged or stolen during load shedding.

These are some of the alarming findings by the SA Local Government Association (Salga) in an assessment on the impact of load shedding on municipalities.

The findings were referenced by Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Thembi Nkadimeng in her reply to parliamentary questions from DA MP Jacobus Frederik Smalle yesterday.

The Mercury reports that Smalle had asked whether Cogta undertook any assessment of the costs incurred by municipalities for electrical and water infrastructure damage as an impact of load shedding.

Smalle also asked why municipalities failed to protect their assets as required by legislation, and the assistance Cogta gave to the municipalities.

In her reply, Nkadimeng said her department had not undertaken any assessment of the costs incurred by local municipalities for electrical and water infrastructure damage due to load shedding.

She said Salga assessed all municipalities in March to quantify municipal expenditure and revenue losses as a result of load shedding: ‘According to Salga, all 257 municipalities in the country were contacted to participate in this assessment. However, only 89 municipalities responded with 75 of them being Water Service Authorities and 79 being licensed municipal distributors.’

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says stage six load shedding costs the economy about R1bn a day.

‘It is going to continue to push people into conditions of abject poverty, out of employment and the economy will continue to threaten the social wage,’ he said. 

The Citizen reports that Kusile’s unit four was out for a 20-day planned maintenance while units one and three were taken out by the collapse of the flue-gas desulphurisation unit last October.

‘We are closer to resolving this problem because you need that additional generating capacity. There’s been a significant improvement in the energy availability factor over a period of time,’ said Ramokgopa.

Eskom said load shedding would drop to stage one, but more stage two and four are expected for the week.

Full report in The Mercury

Full report in The Citizen