Gauteng Premier David Makhura has signed what has been dubbed a “significant milestone” for Johannesburg residents, in the way of additional power supply to the city.
The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) was signed with City of Johannesburg mayor Mpho Moerane at the Kelvin power station in Kempton Park on Friday.
The agreement means an additional 100MW power supply, which will be given to Johannesburg households and businesses.
The PPA enables the city to facilitate City Power taking over areas whose electricity was previously supplied by Eskom, notably the communities of Soweto, Orange Farm and Ivory Park.
The ANC in Johannesburg said the PPA was much-needed and commendable, but urged the city and City Power “to move with speed in rolling out infrastructures that will reconnect affected communities”.
Soweto electricity woes
The City of Johannesburg signed a memorandum of understanding with Eskom to take over its consumer base on 1 October, a deal expected to cost the city at least R7 billion.
This is related to Soweto residents’ mounting debt to Eskom, which is currently at around R7.5 billion. This debt will be taken on by City Power, but part of the memorandum could entail a partial write-off of at least some of the staggering consumer debt.
As a result of the mounting debt, Soweto and surrounding areas have been forced to live with intermittent electricity supply.
Residents, many of which are unemployed, said in one protest outside Eskom offices in Sunninghill in June they could not afford to pay for electricity and feed their families simulataneously.
Many residents also said people were dying as a result of a lack of power supply.
Communities have also been urged by the ANC to protect incoming infrastructure, and that failing to do so would mean more electricity supply problems.
Makhura and Moerane’s PPA signing forms part of the city’s accelerated service delivery programme, which is said to focus on “services that have a direct and immediate impact on the quality of the lives of the people of Johannesburg”.
Three critical areas are water, sanitation and electricity.