7 February 2024 | SANews
Premier Alan Winde, Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning as well as senior members of the Western Cape Government were this morning updated by Eskom on the electricity outage in the Central Karoo and parts of the Overberg.
The Western Cape Government is monitoring the situation closely and is prioritising safe drinking water, food security and access to critical health care for affected residents. “Thank you to everyone from across government and all our partners for the work you are doing to assist our residents. I am also very grateful to the teams that are keeping our health facilities like our hospitals running and our schools open in the affected areas,” noted Premier Winde.
Premier Winde was tragically informed earlier this morning that an 18-year-old person died, and another adult is in hospital. While the cause of death still needs to be confirmed it is suspected that they may have been overcome by fumes form a generator being run inside a house to power a spaza shop in Leeu Gamka.
“My deepest condolences to the family and loved ones. My thoughts are with you. I understand how difficult the situation is for people who have been without power for over four days now. This is why we are meeting with Eskom regularly to ensure that all the repair work is prioritised and supported because we know how critical electricity is for our residents. While I understand how difficult the situation is, I want to appeal to residents to please use any alternative power sources, such as generators, according to the safety guidelines.”
According to Eskom management, essential construction material was delivered on site in the Karoo, and the first of three large construction teams are already active on the site to prepare for the erection of temporary structures needed for the eventual reconnection of the Touwsriver-Laingsburg 132KvH line, which as been down since Saturday, 3 February.
Eskom also reported that the fault on the Hawston Farmer 1 Line has to a large degree been restored. A mini substation still needs to be replaced today, and power should be restored in the entire region by the end of today.
Minister Bredell said that after visiting affected communities in Prince Albert and Laingsburg yesterday, he cannot emphasise enough the urgency needed to restore power to these communities. “As a provincial government, our focus remains the safety and well-being of our residents. We are constantly monitoring the status of essential services. We will continue to offer all possible support to Eskom in repairing the line as fast as possible.”
Minster Bredell confirmed the delivery of several generators to communities to support essential services such as drinking water and sewage management. “100 kVA generator for Water Treatment in Laingsburg was installed. A 45 kVA generator for water provision in Matjiesfontein is being installing today. A 100 kVA and a 40kVA generator for water provision in Prince Albert will be delivered today.”
The following large generators will be dispatched for installation in central business areas:
- Laingsburg will receive a 315kVA and a 350kVA on Thursday, 8 February.
- Prince Albert will receive a 315kVA and a 650kVA on Thursday 8 February.
- Ladismith will receive a 315kVA on Friday 9 February.
According to the Provincial Department of Health, the use of generators, open fires, as well gas appliances in poorly ventilated areas brings with it the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as posing as a fire risk. Carbon monoxide is often difficult to detect, due to it having no odour or colour. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide leads to it replacing the oxygen in the blood stream. This will lead to progressive onset of symptoms such as headache, weakness, shortness of breath and loss of consciousness. Should carbon monoxide poisoning be suspected, it is important to urgently get the victim out of the poorly ventilated environment. Fresh air is required, and medical assistance should be immediately sought.