Garden Route DM continues to assist local municipalities with loadshedding impacts

South Africa experienced a staggering 133 days of power outages in 2022, with November 2022 hitting a peak of 27 days of outages for the entire month. The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently again engaged on a platform with the Western Cape Government (WCG) Head of Department for Local Government to discuss the loadshedding crisis. It was confirmed that stages 4-6 of loadshedding would become the norm for South Africa in the foreseeable future.

In response to this dire situation, GRDM has assisted George Municipality in applying for an exemption from loadshedding above stage three for the municipality’s water purification plant and main domestic water pump stations. Eskom has approved this exemption until June 2023.

We have also assisted Oudtshoorn Municipality in applying for an exemption above stage three for the operation of their water infrastructure. This includes providing water to the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply Scheme, which includes boreholes in Dysselsdorp. This particular approval is pending the construction of a short feeder line, which is currently required,” said Gerhard Otto, Head of Disaster Management at GRDM.

According to Otto, GRDM has also been providing bulk domestic water storage tanks (5000-litre tanks) to ensure that water is available to residents in Kannaland and Oudtshoorn in high-lying areas. “ Since the start of January 2023, the GRDM Fire Services has provided approximately 102 000 litres of water to water-stressed communities in the Klein Karoo.

GRDM has also applied to the WC Provincial Government for funding towards the rental or purchase of backup generator units. These will assist local municipalities where they experience challenges due to extended periods of loadshedding. Unfortunately, this will place a severe strain on the operational budgets of municipalities because of the high cost of diesel required to keep the generators running.

GRDM has contacted the Provincial and National Disaster Management Centres to determine if it would be possible to declare the Garden Route district as a local disaster area due to the current loadshedding challenges. This would enable local municipalities to access disaster grant funding as well as to implement emergency measures to be able to address financial, as well as operational challenges, due to the current prolonged periods of load shedding.

The Premier of the Western Cape will be requesting the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to declare a national state of disaster. If this is not approved, the National Disaster Centre will alternatively be requested to classify the Western Cape as a provincial disaster area.

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