Thabazimbi residents halt Eskom’s multi-million rand powerline in protest citing irregularities

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Some residents in Thabazimbi, Limpopo, have stopped construction on Eskom’s multi-million rand powerline. They say they are against the appointment of five African National Congress (ANC) councillors as members of the Project Steering Committee.

Residents believe the councillors have imposed themselves without the mandate of the community.

A spokesperson for the residents, Maguzumela Pilane, says the councillors have taken the jobs which were supposed to be filled by community members.

The councillors, Two-days Molefe, Rachel Mokoena, Alex Serole, Marcus Matshelanokana and Tshego Ramoabi, are serving as members of the project’s steering committee.

The committee is chaired by councillor Molefe.

Eskom is constructing a powerline between Thabazimbi and Northam.

Pilane says they are unhappy about the councillors. “We, as Thabazimbi community, we’re not happy about the project followed by the councillors and the contractor when electing themselves as Project Steering Committee and subsequently, the appointment of the CLO. So, we, therefore, want the right processes to be followed so that the contractor can resume work effectively.”

‘Conflict of interests’

Meanwhile, ANC Waterberg Region Spokesperson, Matome Moremi-Taueatsoala, says the councillors must recuse themselves from the committee.

“The African National Congress in Waterberg doesn’t expect any councillor, particularly in the project of Thabazimbi, to be serving in the Project Steering Committee. The councillors cannot be able to give advice when they are serving the project as a steering committee. It is a conflict of interests. They will be serving as referees and a player. W (are) advising them, but the secretary will be giving them a call to recuse themselves from the steering committee.”

Speaker of the Thabazimbi Municipality, Thane Hearne, says they are not aware of the establishment of the Project Steering Committee. Hearne says the matter is being investigated.

“I, as the Speaker nor my office, had no knowledge of the establishment of the Project Steering Committee or which wards are affected or included in the project, nor was my office contacted to provide contacts details of the affected ward councillors as is usually the case in this respective case, and this matter will be investigated by the speaker’s office.”

The councillors, the contractor and Eskom would not comment on the matter.