Residents in Haenertsburg experienced black outs for five days straight this last week despite there being no bad weather in the area to blame. On Tuesday, one resident spoke to Bulletin about how this was affecting their restaurant and accommodation business. “This is insane.

Today is day five without little to no power in the village and there is no strong wind, no rain or bad weather to blame for it, but the municipality just cannot seem to get it right. The power comes on for a few minutes and then off again. And this has been going on for the last week. This is not just an inconvenience but a safety and security issue as well.”

Bulletin was told that a contractor had been appointed to conduct bush and vegetation clearing along all the powerlines in the Haenertsburg area and that apparently this contractor was paid R11 million for the project. We sent our inquiries to Vutivi Bridegettes, communications officer at the GTM to clarify.

“We’re aware of the power crisis in Haenertsburg , the electricity has not been completely off but residents may have experienced constant power cuts for the past four days due to the bad weather conditions, our electrical team is currently doing their best to deal with this crisis,” she said.

“It is not true that R11 million was allocated for vegetation control at Haenertsburg. Only R671 333 was allocated for the Haenertsburg area. The allocation is to clear 48 651 kilometres of lines by four contractors. Vegetation clearing is ongoing, and we’ll be doing more as overgrown lines are identified. It should be noted that we are in the last month of the financial year and more allocations will be made in the new financial year.”

Bulletin drove to the GTM’s main substation situated in the Tzaneen industrial area opposite Talana Hostel in Koedoe Street. There, we photographed a completely overgrown high-voltage pylon situated against the boundary wall of the substation. We sent the image to Bridgettes to explain.

“The structure above (on the image) was an omission by a contractor and he has been instructed to go back and clean before he can receive payment,” she responded.

Bulletin is left wondering, as many of our readers certainly are too, how many other oversights these contractors have made in areas not as visible to the public as this particular pylon at their main substation. We have asked for a list of these contractors which we will publish once received.