The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has decided to be lenient on defaulting electricity customers.
Defaulting consumers had their electricity meters unblocked to ensure that they have access to electricity during the lockdown.
This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday night of a national lockdown for 21 days effective Thursday midnight to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.
Interim Bay mayor Thsonono Buyeye on Tuesday announced that the municipality has unblocked the electricity accounts of defaulters.
He said: “To avoid long lines of panic-stricken residents queuing to pay their accounts to avoid their pre-payment electricity meters to be blocked, we decided to unblock all accounts to enable electricity purchases during the lockdown period.However, residents will have to settle their debts when the crisis is over.”
Buyeye said: “Essential services personnel such as water services, electricity, sanitation, traffic, metro police, fire and emergency services, fleet services, wellness centre, refuse collection, laboratory, disaster management, and support services, will continue to work during the lockdown period.
Our teams are currently busy with the identification of quarantine sites and plans are at an advanced stage to ensure that homeless people are accommodated in compliance with the President’s order.
“Procurement processes are in place to buy more protective clothing and equipment for first responders and employees to do their jobs without putting their own safety and that of their families at risk,” said Buyeye.
Residents welcomed the decision. Nokwanda Mazomba, (63) from Motherwell, said: “We welcome the Metro’s human approach because blocking accounts during this difficult time will be unfair punishment for the poorest residents.”