Byline: Andani Matumba

24 April 2022

Darkness continues to thickens after Govan Mbeki Municipality (GMM) parted ways with Ideal Prepaid SA, the municipality appointed a new service provider for the purchase of prepaid electricity.

This is due to the challenge that community members continue to face since the introduction of the new electricity purchase system which has been introduced to GMM consumers.

On 19 March 2022, the Municipality embarked on a door-to-door visit for the purpose of updating all consumers’ meters for the new system.

GMM Notice published on the Municipality’s facebook page

This follows after a new relationship was forged with MBL Smart Solutions.

Since the update on the electricity meters commenced, some consumers have been experiencing challenges loading their electricity tokens which were purchased through the new system.

Some of Consumers have also taken to social media expressing their dissatisfaction with the new electricity system because the system would not generate the tokens.

According to Mr. Lucky Mhlong , Acting Head of Communications at GMM, the actual migration started on 19 March 2022, though it was advertised that it will start on the 07th March 2022.

As adverted on public platforms, Mhlongo said the purchases of prepaid electricity must be done through the legitimate and advertise prepaid vendors / platforms.

(These sites are as per the attached pamphlet).

“Buying of prepaid electricity before or after the system update should not affect you, if these purchases were done as per the current vendors, except in cases where the meter could not be successfully be updated.

Currently this migration is done on an individual meter bases, this means that they visit your property, update the system for this specific meter, as well as updating your meter” added Mhlongo.

List of published outlets of where members of the community can purchase electricity.

In his closing statement, Mhlongo stated that the municipality does replace tokens already purchased on the basis that proof of purchase is submitted, except in cases of ghost tokens purchased  there is a technical teams deployed for dealing with prepaid meters complains.

Meanwhile community members, led by Mrs. Elsie Shabalala who is a street committee member of Ext 21 in Kinross visited the Kinross Municipal Offices for technical assistance regarding the meter issue rejecting electricity tokens.

Kinross Municipality responsible for Evander, Kinross, Marikana and Afganistan

They were referred to Mr. Zwane from the Municipal Electricity Department in Kinross, who alleges that he knows nothing about the upgrade and updates currently happening to the electricity meters.

Mr. Zwane said the first time he encountered the electricity issue was when he was called to attend an issue regarding a household in Evander and unfortunately could not help because he was never trained to use the new system that is currently being used to purchase and load electricity in Govan Mbeki.

Cllr. Rose Nkabinde subsequently held a meeting with the aggrieved community members and expressed her lack of knowledge regarding the project which as been implemented for the upgrade and audit of electricity meters.

At the meeting, Cllr. Nkabinde promised the community that she will liaise with the municipality and provide them with feedback regarding the way forward on the issue of loading electricity tokens refusing to load.

With sadness in her voice, Shabalala said, “There are families which have to organise the logistics of funerals to bury their loved ones and it is sad because they cannot do that in the dark, their groceries will also rot causing wasted expenditures which the municipality will never refund.”

All the events mentioned above are unfolding after Govan Mbeki Municipality Executive Mayor, Cllr. Nhlakanipho Zuma said to Seskhona Media last week Thursday, 01 March 2022, that the technical team was working on the system and advised those who have purchased electricity but experienced difficulty not to throw away their tokens because one the system has been updated it will be able load.

Cllr. Zuma further stated, “The the system does not automatically update all users at the same time meaning that for some it can take a bit more time after the system has been updated to be able to load the electricity”.

Those who encounter problems in loading tokens already purchased should contact the municipal call center, the current main municipal vendor (MBL Smart) as advertised on the attached pamphlet and the municipal administration offices @ 017 620 6749 and 017 620 6042.