Many Harrismith businesses have been in the dark for days

Henry

The industrial area of ​​Harrismith has been without power since the end of last year and business owners in this Free State town are frustrated.

Willem König, a businessman in the town and one of the directors of the Harrismith, Intabazwe & Tshiame residents association (HIT association), says the industrial area Hardustria has been without power since 27 December.

“An underground cable fault led to a fire and now the entire area’s power is off,” he says.

“The fault on the cable can be detected by a specialist machine, but no one has come to do it yet.”

It is unknown at this stage what led to the cable failure.

According to König, the area’s municipal manager apparently assured residents and business people last week that a contractor had been appointed to carry out the repair work.

However, they learned on Friday morning that the paperwork for the appointment was only completed this week, and that the contractor allegedly refuses to begin repairs unless he is paid in advance.

“The municipality told us that the payment will happen as soon as possible, but we still have no idea when the repair work will start and how long it will take,” he says.

“Promises have been made, but nothing has happened yet.”

RNews has sent an inquiry to the municipal manager, but has not yet received any feedback on the state of affairs.

Meanwhile, the affected businesses are scrambling to keep their doors open.

The area has, among other things, about ten separate overnight facilities for truck drivers.

“Because of the power cut, there is not even hot water for these paying truck drivers,” says König.

“Furthermore, the drivers cannot put fuel in, or the companies have to operate generators at great cost to keep the lights on.”

A total of 32 businesses are currently affected by the power outage.

König says Harrismith is already in a bind and numerous businesses have closed in the past few months, or even withdrawn from the area, taking much-needed jobs with them.

The HIT association plans to write to the municipality to request that the power problem be resolved within the next 24 hours.

“No business can survive in these circumstances,” says König.