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Resident waits over 16 years and still no ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

Jan 05, 2024

Residents all over the municipality want to know where the promised lighting is.

In the IDP community outreach in April, former executive mayor of Emalahleni, Clr Conny Nkalitshana said 1 000 streetlights and 35 high masts will be refurbished.

The budget approved for that was R5m.

Another R5 145 250 from a municipal infrastructure grant was allocated for the installation of community lighting infrastructure in the whole of the municipality.

But as soon as you start checking streetlights are not a priority in Emalahleni.

WITBANK NEWS stumbled on paperwork handed to the municipality in 2007 wherein residents in a cul-de-sac in Raadsaal Street in Blancheville asked for a streetlight as the corner there is extremely dark.

The municipality acknowledged receipt of the request but 16 years later no streetlight was put in the dark corner.

“Broken streetlights and dark municipal parks have turned our neighbourhoods into crime hotspots,” said Valentine Zwane who stays in Blancheville.

Improved street lighting is necessary to prevent crime in an already crime-ridden municipality.

Just in the Blancheville area, there was a break-in at a church on Sunday, July 23 and the Monday, July 24 a school in the vicinity was broken into.

On Tuesday, July 25 thieves returned to the church and allegedly stole palisades the neighbourhood put on not so long ago.

Electrical boxes are also vandalised daily.

Clr Salomie Kriel from Ward 18 said in front of her own home is a streetlight she had been reporting for the past seven years.

“Interesting is that contractors were paid to fix streetlights in my ward, which was the street in which I live. Not one of those streetlights was touched, but the contractors were paid,” Kriel said.

Clr Kim Faduk from Ward 33 said it is a constant battle getting lights sorted in her ward.

“Some I have been reporting for three years. Still no luck. I’ve done a Google form for my residents to fill in their addresses where the lights need replacing and repairing and the outcome is overwhelming. So many streets need attention especially streets like Langenhoven Street where the open field is situated next to Eskom Park.”

Faduk said crime has also escalated in Ward 33 with cable theft on top of the list.

“Some residents want to repair their lights but I explained to the residents that a process is to be followed if they want to look after their street lights themselves,” she concluded.

The same concerns were raised by Clr Gavin Gates from Ward 24 who said he has been reporting broken streetlights for years.

A high mast light someone drove over at the circle at the Route N4 Business Park still has not been fixed.

According to Clr Lizelle Steyn from Ward 34 this is another accident waiting to happen because the circle leading to Bankenveld is very dark.

She said the list of streetlights she reports to the relevant departments is just getting longer and longer.

In Phola there is no problem with the lights. Clr KB Maphosa said the high masts in the area are working and solar-powered high masts are being put in at informal settlements.

Other councillors declined to speak to WITBANK NEWS.

“The lighting project has kicked off. This is an ongoing project that is being planned in phases. In OR Tambo Road and Watermeyer Street energy-efficient LED lights were put in,” Lebo Mofokeng, municipal spokesperson said.

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