In the first agreement of its kind in South African local government, business, residents and the Emfuleni local authority have united to allow the community to maintain, upgrade and secure electricity substations throughout the region.
Signed last week, the historic agreement paves the way for greater direct business and community involvement and resource allocation to co-manage and service municipal strategic assets , starting with electricity substations.
The agreement – in possession of Vaalweekblad – says all costs involved will be carried by community stakeholders due to financial constraints of the municipality.
Stakeholders involved in brokering the first-of-its-kind accord are the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce (GTCoC), Proudly Ward Five in SW5 in Vanderbijlpark , the Emfuleni Ratepayer’s Association (ERPA) and ELM Municipal Manager Oupa Nkoane.
Originally initiated by Mike Brucher of Proudly Ward 5 in Emfuleni, the overall agreement was preceded by Brucher, Olivia Vaughn of the GTCoC and ERPA Chairperson Kobus Janse van Rensburg developing a Strategic Asset Protection Plan for Emfuleni in response to emergencies created by either Eskom bulk blockades, cable thefts or lack of maintenance.
GTCoC CEO Klippies Kritzinger praised Municipal Manager Oupa Nkoane for his “courageous and innovative” management thinking and added the business community was proud to work with not only ELM, but also active citizen leaders such as Brucher, Vaughn and Janse van Rensburg.
The accord architecture involves an overarching Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the GTCoC and ELM, thereby creating an enabling environment for other MOA’s directly addressing specific challenges and drill-down strategic asset management such as substations.
Following the agreement on 20 September 2018, stakeholders will develop a roll-out plan following an intensive audit of ELM strategic assets such as substations. Planning will also include security aspects such as intelligence-gathering, threat analysis and physical protection of substations.
Vaalweekblad has learned the substation project has already mobilised engineers and other qualified personnel to assist.
Especially power substations are regarded as vital to security of electricity power supply to not only the business sector, but also residents in townships and suburbs who have endured the horrors and losses of power blackouts through sabotage and lack of maintenance.
However, the sub stations, with other strategic infrastructure assets, remain the property of ELM and can only be entered or worked on with direct permission from municipal authorities.
“This is the best initiative of its kind at present – it will assist us to have an overview of municipal assets and early warning interventions,” Nkoane told Vaalweekblad.
Brucher said: “This was a negotiated deal and is the first of its kind in South Africa.”
Janse van Rensburg added: “We are in the process of compiling the action plan for the substation audit and survey.”