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STRATEGIC WIN: Organised business welcomes hefty charges for damaged municipal cables

THE Business community has welcomed a decision by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to implement hefty charges against contractors who damage municipal cables in the city.

During a Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council meeting last month, Council approved miscellaneous charges – with effect from 1 September 2016 – for contractors who damage electricity cables in the Metro. These damaged cables have a detrimental effect - not only on the municipality - but also on businesses operating in Nelson Mandela Bay.

In particular big businesses can ill afford disruptions in power supply to industry, due to damaged cables which hamper the manufacturing base of our city, said Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler.

Electricity and Energy Task Team Chairman Angus Clark said the implementation of the miscellaneous charges will ensure that the many contractors digging in municipal servitudes adhere to the service drawings that are provided to them as part of their contract.

“In the past contractors have damaged services without consequence and many have ignored the drawings provided or have not dug pilot holes to establish the exact location of services. They have simply dug there trenches with mechanical devices often damaging high voltage cables, water lines and sewers without concern to the users of these services and the cost to industry as a result of power outages, power dips or interruption to water. We are very happy with this inclusion and positive that it will go a long way in improving the reliability of our utility services,” Clark said.

R120 000 or more charged for damaging cables

Based on potential income loss to Council together with the cost of repairs, these charges will be recovered from “all contractors who damage municipal underground cables”.

The specific charges vary from R1 000 for damage to any low voltage cable up to R120 000 for damage to 132 000 Volt cables. In addition to these amounts, the miscellaneous charges will also include the cost of repair to the affected cable.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Chief of Staff to the Mayor, Kristoff Adelbert, said the municipality's infrastructure was of critical importance to the smooth running of the Metro.

“We are committed to delivering better services and can only do so if service providers conduct their work with care. We are confident that these newly instituted charges will act as a deterrent, preventing further disruptions and ensuring the preservation of our municipal infrastructure, so that business, industry and residents can conduct their affairs without hindrance," Adelbert said.

In cases where the excavation occurred without authorisation or policy was not followed, Council reserves the right to institute further steps against the party concerned. It was also resolved by Council that the same provision should be made for damage to underground sewerage and water pipes.