Barkley West residents in the Northern Cape demand that Dikgatlong Municipality be placed under administration and its entire council be dissolved.

This follows recent reports that the municipality has R54-million debt with Eskom.

The increasing debt has led to power interruptions since December 2017.

Hundreds of residents marched to the municipal offices demanding the debt be settled.

Frustrated by power interruptions, residents and business owners staged a march demanding answers.

The number of hours of power cuts have now been increased from four to six daily.

Residents claim this is due to the negligent and deliberate failure of the municipality.

Residents say, “For the past four weeks, we are sitting with a problem of load shedding because of the municipality’s maladministration and mismanagement. Most of the things that are happening could have been avoided.”

“We are suffering as a result of the power interruptions and we’re suffering because of the water cuts and at this point in time, it seems as if the municipality doesn’t give any information out,” says another resident.

Another resident adds, “Enough is enough! We can’t take it any further. We have tolerated enough.”

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota met with residents, who have requested him to assist in resolving the impasse.

“We, through our provincial representative, want to approach the provincial government to take over administration of this place, such that it eliminates the people that are failing to do this and introduce those who will be able in the interim to ensure that there’s payment of the outstanding money. This is so that this community restores proper administration of the run of things.”

The municipality says it is in talks with the power utility.

Acting Municipal Manager Levona Itumeleng says he’s not resting on his laurels, but trying to find a solution to the problem.

“We are trying by all means possible. We have had engagements and have done a new proposal to say that we cannot afford because we don’t have the money. Can we maybe revise the payment agreement we have with you? We submitted that and Eskom rejected that proposal. They wanted R7 million upfront which the municipality currently don’t have in place.”

Various stakeholders have been roped in, to assist in the matter.

Meanwhile, the community wants answers by the end of February.