Minister urges residents to be wise about electricity

Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, Regional Manager of Housing Development Agency, Bosco Khoza and ANC chief whip in the City council , Xolani Sotashe speaking to Langa residents Justice Dolophu and Belinda Sokupha

Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, called on the residents of Joe Slovo in Langa to stop making illegal electricity connections and work with members of the police to stop cable theft and vandalism of electricity poles.

On Tuesday May 16, the minister and officials from her department went door to door to share electricity safety tips with residents and urge them to use solar-powered bulbs to save electricity.

The main aim of the minister’s visit, however, was to assess and monitor the progress of the electricity roll-out to houses in the area before handing out solar lamps and gel stoves to the community.

Ms Kubayi said May had been designated Energy Month, giving government the opportunity tackle matters related to energy and the provision thereof.

She said production output for electricity intensive sectors such as the iron and steel, metals and machinery production sectors, had seen a major contraction of about 16% since 2008, while overall manufacturing output levels have declined by around 4% over this period.

She said the department’s plan was to improve energy accessibility, reduce energy costs, develop energy efficiency initiatives, secure the supply of energy, engage with the public on topical energy issues, mainstream women and youth participation, and create investment opportunities in the energy sector.

With winter looming, Ms Kubayi said the major problem facing the province was the breakout of fires in informal settlements, many of which were caused by illegal electricity connections and carelessness.

She said they were working towards a vision of an industrialised, globally competitive South African economy, characterised by inclusive growth and meaningful participation by previously disadvantaged members of our society, decent employment and equity.

Ms Kubayi said it was important that people were constantly educated about the importance of using electricity in an effective way because the country still had a shortage thereof.

“I’m happy with the progress of electrifying houses in the area and also happy about the fact that residents did not raise any complaints about energy.

“We as the department we are working around the clock to implement effective strategies that would see us saving a lot of energy.

“But we are also calling on the residents to embrace these new tools we have given them to save electricity,” she said.

Resident Livingstone Thambo said the solar lamps and gel stoves would help him to save money.

The 52-year-old disabled father also pleaded with the officials to help get him a new wheelchair because the one he was using was no longer suitable.

Ward councillor Samkelo John praised the initiative, saying people need to be continuously taught about the importance of using electricity wisely.