Controversy continues to surround the electrification process at the Ramorwa and Witdam shacks in ward 4 as the beneficiation list is apparently constantly “chopped and changed”, leaving many community members in the dark.
CONTROVERSY continues to surround the electrification process at the Ramorwa and Witdam shacks in ward 4 as the beneficiation list is apparently constantly “chopped and changed”, leaving many community members in the dark.
The residents are divided on the issue, with some labelling the electrification process as unfair and contaminated by corruption.
There are reportedly more shacks on the settlement than the approved names on the beneficiary list.
The electrification process has been halted, leaving the residents at loggerheads as there is no one available to conduct the verification process.
It is alleged that illegal shacks that were erected on the Witdam side of the settlement during the lockdown period have already been electrified while shacks that have been on the settlement for 13 years were “sidelined”.
The same complaint arose earlier this year when Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo and a team went to demolish an illegal shack that was erected on a food garden for elderly community members.
The residents claimed that the beneficiaries on the municipal list are changed and replaced without any explanation.
They accuse local government of not listening to them as they are unable to get hold of their ward councillor in order for her to “address this mess”.
The owners of the newly-erected shacks apparently refuse to move as they claim they have paid R2,500 for a plot on the settlement and to get electricity.
Some residents, who have been staying in the area for 13 years, were reportedly moved from their plots to the other side of the settlement and told that the area is being “developed”.
One irate resident said on Tuesday that a new shack was erected in his yard during the lockdown and received electricity.
“No one engaged with me … and the new owners were bullying me and my wife. The name of that shack owner is not on the list, but mine is. He received the electricity that was meant for me … registered under my name,” said the resident.
Another community member said that he was told that his shack could not be electrified as it was in the middle of what is supposed to be a road, while a new shack that was built in his yard during lockdown received electricity.
“That same shack that was electrified was erected right next to mine, in my yard, which is said to be on the road.
“What also surprises me, is that the town planner never told me that I am in the middle of the road when the planning of the settlement was done years ago.
“Today, a new shack replaces mine and then I am told I must look for another plot to build on. I have waited 13 years for services on this settlement. I was part of starting it.”
Another resident said that she moved to the other side of the settlement in order to be included on the beneficiation list to “qualify” for electrification.
“When I went to the municipality to enquire as to whether I will receive electricity, as per expectation, I was told that the place where I am on is not on the map,” she indicated.
“Meanwhile, the yard that I was moved from was split into two yards three months ago and a new shack was squeezed in.”
The Sol Plaatje Municipality did not confirm whether the number of beneficiaries currently exceeds the number of shacks on the settlement and whether this has hindered the electrification process.
Sol Plaatje municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said that electricity was installed to 106 households in Ramorwa in 2019 and that the project was complete.
Matsie indicated that only 65 households were turned on in Witdam. “We are still busy in the area. Witdam has approximately 138 households. As per the design, all these households are supposed to be energised,” said Matsie.
The spokesperson in the Office of the Executive Mayor, Persome Oliphant, indicated that the matter has been referred to the mayoral committee member responsible for utility services.
“The mayor, Patrick Mabilo, will convene a meeting following a preliminary investigation by the portfolio chairperson for utility, with all relevant officials to have formal discussions to resolve the matter,” said Oliphant.