While the rest of South Africa is witnessing power outages since the year 2008, residents of Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal are enjoying some uninterrupted power supply for a while now. If we look at the numbers, not a single person from the 400,000 population has ever witnessed load-shedding.
Now, this is some achievement due to the. “We long ago installed geyser- controlling regulators in all houses, which allows us to turn off geysers during peak periods,” said Mayor Afzul Rehman.
On the other side, Eskom has also appreciated the measures taken by the municipality and the authorities to prevent load-shedding within the area. Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe, while speaking on the same, said: “When Eskom declares load-shedding some municipalities might decide to use various options to reduce their demand on the system. This is a decision for the municipality as a licensed distributor of electricity.
“Newcastle residents regard themselves as “privileged” and praise their municipality. One of the residents Nik Singh also showcased his happiness in the same regards while saying: “I am extremely grateful to be living here. We should count our blessings that we do not get affected by load-shedding. Credit must be given to our mayor, who always ensures that Newcastle has the best and always remains on top.
It was only last year when Afzul Rehman was named as the top mayor of KwaZulu-Natal for the third consecutive year. The chairman of the Newcastle Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Alex Lui, also stated that working in an area without load-shedding has made a significant difference to most of the clothing and textile factories in Newcastle.
He also stated that factories Madadeni, near Newcastle, which gets their electricity supplies from Eskom, have been severely affected by the load-shedding issue. As per him, load shedding comes as a bane for the labor-intensive business and it often makes the staff sit idle for hours.
This is where the employers have to make some tough decisions in whether to make the staff leave or make them wait until the power outage gets sorted. There have been times when the area is without power for almost 2 days.
Last year, Afzul Rehman stated that the municipality is thinking of taking over from Eskom to supply electricity to the Madadeni Township and industrial area. While it has already taken over the responsibility of powering Newcastle’s street lights, this won’t make much of a difference to their efforts.
As per Afzul Rehman South Africa, ‘Eskom does not repair street lights fast enough. We agreed to take them over and manage them ourselves.”We want Newcastle to be a model city,”