As more companies in the Vaal scramble to gain reliable power supply directly from Eskom, the Emfuleni business sector last week directly confronted the Executive Mayor saying there was “absolutely no trust” in a local authority “drowning in red tape”.
Executive Mayor Jacob Khawe was confronted face to face by the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce (GTCoC) in his own meeting convened last week to explain his sharp attack on business efforts to achieve security of power supply for the region.
“We as business are desperate. There is no trust in the Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM) which is not enabling an environment to create jobs for our people – the wheels of local government turn too slowly if at all. We are drowning in red tape.
“Business and civil society want to help bring services to our people but trust is lacking. We need to show South Africa how to create jobs,” Klippies Kritzinger, CEO of GTCoC, told Khawe directly.
He was supported by other business leaders who spoke out about ELM’s ability to provide reliable services.
Khawe convened the meeting at the boutique Lords Signature Hotel in Risiville on Thursday last week after an overwhelmingly negative reaction from the business and civil society sector erupted on his public comments to “fight” efforts to cut out ELM from supplying electricity to business.
A broad business and civil society initiative is gathering steam to ensure security of power supply – and then to address corruption and lack of services – and thus economic growth and investment in Emfuleni by obtaining electricity directly from Eskom.
Vaalweekblad has reliably learned that following a Cape Gate high court application – postponed but expected to resume this week – many other companies in the Vaal were following suit and still others were considering similar legal action.
Emfuleni is facing a possible reduction in electricity supply from Eskom due to non-payment of debts by ELM to Eskom – with a similar situation on water due to non-payment to Rand Water.
Khawe, recently elected as ANC Gauteng Provincial Secretary, adopted a conciliatory approach to business in his engagement meeting last week, saying “we (ELM) do not seek to collapse business so business should not seek to collapse ELM”.
However, he did not retract his attack on business – and on entities such as Eskom – but said ELM was embarking on a multi-faceted turnaround process based on community involvement, transparency and technical teams.
“I am also here to stay till the job is done,” said Khawe, directly dispelling speculation his departure was imminent to take up his new full-time post as ANC Gauteng Provincial Secretary. He did not provide an exit timeline.