The National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) must account for the power outages that lasted almost 12 months at Ga-Rankuwa Police Station which has been hindering police service delivery to the residents.
It has come to light that the DPWI removed circuit breakers from an Eskom substation that supplied electricity to both the pathology department and the Ga-Rankuwa police station due to an apparent devolvement of the station.
Ga-Rankuwa Police Station has since been handed over to the SAPS which is now responsible for its maintenance.
This information was revealed to the DA during the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) Community Safety Portfolio Committee oversight visit at Ga-Rankuwa Police Station this week.
The fact that the substation remains the property of Eskom and the station will still be getting electricity supply directly from Eskom, means that Eskom must be responsible for all maintenance repairs and upgrades to the substation.
According to the report presented during the oversight visit, the DPWI removed the circuit breakers without the involvement of Eskom and without notifying the police.
This is illegal tampering with state infrastructure, a criminal act and completely unacceptable, which has left the Ga-Rankuwa SAPS in the dark for almost a year and hampered the safety of residents.
It is a relief that power has been restored at the police station, but it’s only an interim measure and according to this report, SAPS will have to procure a new mini substation to ensure that there is a stable electricity supply at the station which can only be done in the next financial year.
The police station remains vulnerable because this is only an interim solution and could at any point be disconnected yet again.
The DA believes that there is sufficient provision within the financial regulations to procure the mini substation as an irregular expense within the current financial year at an estimated cost of R500 000 to solve the problem permanently without taking any risks of future electricity failures or further delays.
The DA believes in the rule of law and demands that an urgent investigation must be done to ascertain whether DPWI did tamper with the substation. Should it be found that these allegations are true, DPWI must be held accountable and face severe consequences for their actions. We will use all the mechanisms at our disposal to ensure that there is accountability so that such incidents never happen again.
Electricity supply is an essential service required for a police station to ensure its safety and to provide police services to the communities.