Municipal spokesperson Mr Louis Bobodi confirmed during the past week that the municipality had indeed disconnected the power supply to some farms from 16 to 20 March.
This was done "due to the fact that owners and or users of electricity did not respond to finalise their supply and wayleave agreements with the municipality which have been outstanding for many years," Bobodi
A total of six farms (supply points) were affected by the power cuts and, said Bobodi
, the municipality had done everything in their power to inform the affected farmers of their intention.
"Regrettably, some users changed their telephone numbers without informing the municipality.
In some instances, users other than the one registered are also using the electricity without informing the municipality, which is illegal," Bobodi
According to Bobodi
, all farm owners in the Makhado electrical distribution area should have a supply and wayleave agreement in place with the municipality as supplier.
said, was necessary as electricity was a dangerous service and because it was operated and maintained on privately owned land/farms, it must be regulated in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Electricity Act and other legislation and by-laws.
"It must also be mentioned that for years it has been required, and it is still the case," Bobodi
As far as could be determined, all new land owners who took ownership of a farm after June 2012 must now, however, sign a new supply and wayleave agreement with the municipality.
"Electricity is being used by people other than the owners without proper agreements or, in some cases, users only change the addresses and still use electricity illegally in someone else's name without the updated current fees or deposits," Bobodi
said it was not enough for an address change to be made or an account to be opened in the new owner's name.
"A formal supply and wayleave agreement must be signed in order to comply with safety legislation.
It is alarming how many farms where electricity is supplied, changes had been made illegally to the capacity, position of the supply point or severe cases of tampering with the registration of the energy (meters)," Bobodi
further explained that some customers opted to redeem the assets [pay for the electrical infrastructure] over 20 years and therefore an agreement to that effect had to be concluded.
"Many cases are now being discovered where the actual capital for supply points has not yet been redeemed, which means that the customer had received the assets free of charge.
The municipality has therefore adopted a resolution that all changes in ownership or users of electricity on rural farms and villages, by means of agreements, shall be physically investigated, reconciled to the records and consulted with the new owners\users to correct the legal process and recover the arrears of outstanding capital and maintenance fees," Bobodi
The power supply to the six farms was eventually restored.
"After consultation and agreements reached with the affected parties, the power was restored and will again be disconnected if the agreements reached by consultation are not honoured," Bobodi
As for the safety aspect of the abrupt power cuts, Bobodi
said that the municipality was mindful of the security situation on farms, but that they had gone to such extremes (cutting the power supply) to elicit a response from customers who were not cooperating.