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Sol commits to electrification

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“We believe that the municipality made the new commitment because we could not guarantee calmness.”

LERATO Park community leaders do not know how long they can keep frustrated residents “calm” while waiting for the Sol Plaatje Municipality to deliver on its promise of supplying them with electricity.

The residents are demanding action on the municipality’s long-overdue promise that it will install electricity.

The municipality made a new commitment following engagements with community leaders after residents took their frustrations to the streets and barricaded the Barkly West road.

The municipality promised to start the electrification of Lerato Park in April this year.

A commitment letter addressed by the deputy director: electrical engineering, Orren Groenewaldt, states that a bid specification meeting will take place on February 25. The advertising of the tender will close on March 13 and the tender will be awarded on March 31.

“Site establishment will be on April 9, while the selection of the 19 local labourers and the one chief liaison officer (CFO) will be done on April 14.”

A spokesperson for the Lerato Park community, Jerry Thekiso, said their hopes were almost dashed when they were called to an engagement with the municipality and the police, only to learn that there was a communication breakdown between municipal officials.

“They claimed not to have any knowledge of the existing commitment that a tender advert was supposed to have been published last week already,” said Thekiso.

“We believe that the municipality made the new commitment because we could not guarantee calmness.”

Thekiso said that it has been a “mammoth task” to stop the community from returning to the streets for further protest action.

“We had to beg and plead with them to wait for the outcome of the meetings we have been engaging in over the past two days,” he said.

The spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, Persome Oliphant, confirmed that the municipality has once again committed itself to the electrification of Lerato Park.

“The executive mayor is pleased that the electrification of Lerato Park will commence in April and it is anticipated that it will be completed by the beginning of July this year. Close to 1 300 households will receive electricity,” said Oliphant.

– Boipelo Mere