The Western Cape government and Eskom have assured communities that have been affected by the power outages since 3 February that they are working around the clock to ensure power is restored as soon as possible.
The power utility’s coastal general manager, Mbulelo Yedwa, said resources and manpower are being directed to ensure that communities and businesses have electricity. He added that the electricity is expected to be restored by 15 February.
Areas affected by power cuts include Laingsburg, Ladismith, Leeu-Gamka, Swartberg, Merweville, Matjiesfontein, and Prince Albert following a devastating storm a week ago.
“The additional construction teams have arrived on site to support the three teams in shortening the time for assembly of temporal structures as well as securing and anchoring of existing lines,” he said.
According to Yedwa, his team has managed to identify the root cause of the long duration, which was the faulty mini-substation impacted by a severe thunderstorm a week ago.
Western Cape disaster management chief director Colin Deiner said an assessment is still being done in terms of agriculture to ensure that farming operations continue.
“The economic cluster meets daily to discuss the impact of food security and the impact on businesses in all the areas that are affected by power cuts.
“The health department has deployed a team to investigate food quality in stores as there is currently no electricity,” he said.
Deiner said health and education facilities have been severely impacted. Hospitals in the affected towns are running on generators, nine schools are affected, and water supply remains the major challenge.
‘We need to work together’
Premier Alan Winde commended the unity and hard work, including from farmers who have assisted with water and generators at schools and clinics. He said the impact is felt by every sector as there is no electricity.
“It is quite a difficult call because it is not easy to put yourself in such situation. We were used to load shedding – the power goes for a certain time and it comes back – but when there is no electricity it is a problem and that is what really concerns me.
“There is no electricity, there is no power on those farms, but we want to thank organised agriculture for coming up and stepping in in terms of ensuring operations, where possible, are running, ” he said.
Jannie Strydom, chief executive officer of Agri Western Cape, said they have been in constant contact with farmers who are affected by power outages.
“The situation at this stage is quite dire, but all relevant role players are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible. Disaster management and the various departments and municipalities are supporting critical areas with generators and humanitarian needs and we would like to thank the provincial disaster management centre for their swift response and effective communication,” he said.
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