The City of Johannesburg will reconnect all residents whose water and lights were cut due to nonpayment, says executive mayor Geoffrey Makhubo.
In a press briefing on Wednesday (25 March), Makhubo said the city cares about its residents and stated that it was important that all citizens have access to basic needs during this time.
However, he encouraged residents with outstanding payments to settle their debts as the city depends on the money for service delivery.
The announcement comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown starting from Thursday (26 March) at midnight.
During this period, all people in the country except emergency workers and essential services providers are encouraged to stay in their homes. People will only be allowed to leave their homes to seek medical care, buy food, medicine, exercise or collect social grants.
Makhubo said the city is also looking at relaxing some credit control policies to give businesses some relief during the lockdown.
The mayor added that the city is working with the South African Police Service and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) to centralise accreditations applications for businesses that offer essential services so that they will be able to trade during the lockdown.
“City Power and Johannesburg Water will continue operations while ensuring that they protect and minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to our workforce and residents of Johannesburg,” he said.
“Metro Bus and Rea Vaya bus services will be further scaled down while ensuring the availability of buses especially for those essential services staff needing to get to work.”
Government is working with the entire energy sector to ensure that South Africa does not face power shortages and load shedding during the coronavirus lockdown, said Department of Trade and Industry minister Ebrahim Patel.
Responding in a media briefing on Tuesday (24 March), Patel said that government would ensure that the entire energy supply chain continues operating as part of essential services.
“This include working with coal mines through to coal trucks, through to arrangements at the various Eskom plants,” he said. “Generation, transmission, distribution all of those (workers) will be exempted from the lockdown.”
“In addition, we do expect there will be a decreased demand for electricity when some of the larger enterprises begin their shutdown,” Patel said.
“Of course, we will need to work closely together to make sure that all the core maintenance teams from Eskom are able to respond immediately to challenges.”