Thaba Tshwane in the dark


Today (Wednesday, 29 July) marks the fifth day of no power in what is widely recognised as the heart of the South African military – Thaba Tshwane, south of the Pretoria CBD.

The military “suburb”, in addition to housing and single quarters for soldiers and their families is also home to three of the national defence force’s top training institutions – the Air Force, Army and Military Health Service colleges –as well as a number of units and regiments.

1 Military Hospital is on the ridge on the northern side of Thaba Tshwane, but is apparently running on own generator power.

“Neglect of Thaba Tshwane facilities and infrastructure is nothing new. What is presently not clear is whether this five-day outage is the responsibility of the City of Tshwane or the Public Works Department.

“Tshwane provides electricity to the Thaba Tshwane substation. Beyond this point Public Works is responsible for electricity reticulation and the network maintenance,” Celliers Brink, DA shadow deputy co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister, said.

Ina Strydom is a Tshwane metro councillor in whose ward Thaba Tshwane falls. She is trying to assist residents to “the best of her ability” said Brink adding matters are not made easier because the Tshwane metro is currently under administration.

“Very little information has been forthcoming from Minister Patricia de Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the Department of Defence (DoD) appears not to have taken up the issue,” Brink said.

He points out Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula last year acknowledged, when answering a Parliamentary question, her department had to “step in” where DWPI failed on its mandate. She also told Brink a facility strategic plan was compiled with Thaba Tshwane “one of the first priorities to be addressed”.

“Seven months down the line it is time for the Ministers of Defence and Public Works to end the apparent inter-departmental tussle over Thaba Tshwane,” Brink said adding letters would go to both ministers and the Tshwane metro provincial administrator urging all to have power restored to the military “suburb”.